Bob Bowlsby leaves Big 12 ahead of Oklahoma and Texas

The Big 12 are getting a new commissioner as Bob Bowlsby retires later this year.

After 10 years in office, the Big 12 must replace longtime commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is stepping down later this year.

Bowlsby took over the Big 12 during a major transition period that involved a conference realignment. The Big 12 quickly lost Nebraska to the Big Ten, Colorado to the Pac-12, and Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC. While the Big 12 added TCU and West Virginia, it remained a 10-team league throughout his tenure. With another wave of realignment, Bowlsby comes off the stage to the left.

Here’s an excerpt of Bowlsby’s official statement on his decision to step down.

“After more than 40 years of leadership in collegiate athletics, including the bottom 10 of the Big 12, and given the huge issues that collegiate athletics in general, and the Big 12 in particular, will be tackling in the years to come, I have “It’s a natural transition point in my tenure as commissioner as well as in my career,” Bowlsby said in a statement on Tuesday.

While the Big 12 will soon lose Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC, the conference will gain four new schools in a short period of time, eventually bringing it back to 12 in BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF.

“The Big 12 will soon bring in our four new members and negotiate a new set of rights and media rights agreements. I firmly believe that the Big 12 and our member institutions are in a strong position now and going forward. Therefore, this is an appropriate time for me to step down from the role of Commissioner so that the next Chair of the Conference can take the reins on these important matters which will come to the fore before the end of my employment contract term in 2025 to set the conditions for to create the future continued success of the Big 12.”

Bowlsby’s resignation means that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey will be by far the longest-serving Power 5 commissioner, and a very, very powerful one at that.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby will step down from his role later this year

The Big 12 Bowlsby will oversee will be very different from those his successor will oversee. Though the Big 12 made four wise decisions to add the next wave of realignment, the loss of cash cows and conference columns in Oklahoma and Texas is absolutely brutal. While it remains to be seen if the Big 12 will carry the gravity they once had, chances are they will be left behind.

The good news with the addition of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF is that three of them have already won the Group of 5 in the college football playoff era. Although BYU is not nationally independent, this is a proud football program that won a national title in 1984. While they won’t make up for the losses in Oklahoma and Texas, the Big 12 are doing well here.

Importantly, however, the Big 12 find the right replacement for Bowlsby. His run as Big 12 commissioner hasn’t always been smooth, but he’s done more good than bad while chairing this Power 5 conference. The 9-game regular season round-robin schedule was a huge success, allowing the Big 12 championship game to be played again. Basketball was always solid too.

The biggest key in Bowlsby’s successor is finding a visionary who can see what a strong future looks like for the Big 12 excluding Oklahoma and Texas. It might not be easy, but this new 12-team league seems incredibly competitive on both the griddle and the hardwood. The playoff expansion will ultimately serve this redesigned conference, but it’s not so grim for them.

Replacing Bowlsby won’t be easy, but it’s a top priority for the Big 12 as he steps down.

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage from FanSided, including the Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff standings, be sure to bookmark these pages. Bob Bowlsby leaves Big 12 ahead of Oklahoma and Texas

John Verrall

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