"The institutions of the Big 12 wanted a Commissioner that could take us to the next era as a conference with the addition of TCU and WVU, and we unanimously agreed Bob is that leader," said Hargis, who is president of Oklahoma State University. "The search committee looked for a candidate that has a vision for the next generation of college athletics, and his credentials and ideas exceeded this. He understands enhancing athletic competition among conference schools, the challenge of balancing academics and athletics for our student-athletes, and working with our broadcast and bowl partners."
In accepting the offer to become the fourth Commissioner of the Big 12, Bowlsby stated, "I am proud to have been selected to lead the Big 12 Conference as its Commissioner. The member institutions represent the best in competitive intercollegiate athletics and they occupy a prominent place in the history of sports in America. I am excited to work with a very talented and committed group of Presidents and Chancellors to advance the Conference on the national sports landscape. Additionally, the directors of athletics, senior woman's administrators, faculty athletics representatives, coaches and conference office staff are among the very best in the country. The future is exceedingly bright and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues to achieve great things in the years ahead."
Bowlsby will begin his duties June 15, succeeding Acting Commissioner Chuck Neinas. "All of the institutions of the Big 12 want to recognize Chuck's great contributions as acting commissioner, helping us during a challenging time and providing a stabilizing force to lead us to today's announcement," said President Hargis. "We cannot thank him enough for his efforts."
Since 2006, Bowlsby, a Waterloo, Iowa-native, has directed a Stanford University athletics department that sponsors 35 varsity sports and has claimed an unprecedented 17 consecutive Learfield Sports Directors Cups, emblematic of the top overall athletics program in the country.
Throughout his career, Bowlsby has emerged as a national leader in intercollegiate and amateur athletics. He was appointed to the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors in 2007. In 2002, President George W. Bush chose Bowlsby to be a member of the Commission on Opportunities in Athletics.
Bowlsby has previously served as president of the NCAA Division I-A Athletics Directors' Association, chair of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee, and chaired the NCAA Management Council. In addition, he has also chaired the NCAA Wrestling Committee, served on NCAA committees on Financial Aid and Amateurism, the Special Committee to Review Amateurism Issues, and the Special Committee to Review Financial Conditions in Athletics.
In 1991, Bowlsby was named athletics director at the University of Iowa, a post he held until moving to Stanford. Prior to his stint overseeing the Hawkeye athletic department he served the same role for seven years at the University of Northern Iowa.
Big 12 Commissioners
1995-97 - Steve Hatchell
1998 - Dave Martin (Interim)
1998-07 - Kevin Weiberg
2007-11 - Dan Beebe
2011-12 - Chuck Neinas (Interim)
About the Big 12
The Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities - Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia - beginning July 1, 2012. The Big 12 is an NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics conference that encompasses five states with over 40 million people within its geographic footprint. During its 16-year history, the Conference has produced 512 Academic All-America selections, and claimed national championship team titles in 16 of its 23 sponsored sports. Its student-athletes and teams have combined for 511 individual NCAA titles and 46 team national championships. More than 4,100 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually under the Big 12 banner.