Bob Bowlsby is preparing to step down from his post as Big 12 Conference commissioner.
According to a statement from Bowlsby and the league, the commissioner will leave the position later this year after more than a decade in charge. He will remain the commissioner until a new commissioner is appointed, and then could step into a new, interim role, subject to a mutual agreement between Bowlsby and his successor.
“After more than 40 years of serving in leadership roles in intercollegiate athletics, including the last 10 with the Big 12, and given the major issues that college sports in general and the Big 12 specifically will address in the next several years, I have reached a natural transition point in my tenure as Commissioner, as well as in my career,” Bowlsby said in a statement.
“The Big 12 will soon bring in our four new members and negotiate a new grant of rights and media rights agreements. I truly believe the Big 12 and our member institutions are in a strong position now and as we look into the future. As such, this is an appropriate time for me to step away from the Commissioner’s role so that the next leader of the Conference can take the reins on these significant matters that will come to the forefront before the end of the term of my employment agreement in 2025 to set the stage for the Big 12’s future ongoing success.”
Last summer, Big 12 members Texas and Oklahoma announced a joint departure to the SEC, roughly a week after Bowlsby said conference realignment wasn’t on his radar at the league’s annual football media days. The Big 12 later announced the additions of BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston, all of whom are set to join the league for competition by the start of the 2024-25 academic year at the latest.
Bowlsby became Big 12 commissioner in 2012. In the 10 years since, conference teams have claimed 25 NCAA championships, including Kansas’ recent triumph in men’s basketball.
According to a statement, the Big 12 is “engaging an executive search consulting firm” to assist in the nationwide search for Bowlsby’s replacement. That process is set to begin in the coming weeks.