NCAA’s Big 12 Conference to Appoint Stanford’s Bob Bowlsby as Commissioner

By Community | May 3, 2012

College sports Big 12 Conference will appoint Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby as their next commissioner, according to

A press conference has been tentatively scheduled for Friday.

Bowlsby, 60, has been at Stanford since 2006 and previously was athletic director at Iowa from 1991-2006 and Northern Iowa from 1984-91.

Bowlsby will replace acting commissioner Chuck Neinas, who took over when former commissioner Dan Beebe was fired in 2011. first reported Bowlsby was offered the job.

One of Bowlsby’s first duties is decide if the league should expand. With the addition of West Virginia and TCU, they have 10 members for the 2012-13 season. But there are several within the conference who want the league to expand to 11 or 12 for stability reasons and others who want the league to remain at 10 schools.

Industry sources told if the Big 12 does expand Louisville would be its first target as a full member and the Cardinals would leave the Big East. The Big 12 also has hopes to try and sway Notre Dame to join the league, either as an all-sports member or just for as an Olympic sports member.

Bowlsby is one of the most respected athletic directors in the country. While at Stanford, the Cardinal won their unprecedented 17th consecutive Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, awarded to the nation’s top all-around athletic program based on NCAA tournament success in each sport.

In December of 2006, Bowlsby hired former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh as Stanford’s football coach, which resurrected the program. When Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers, Bowlsby promoted offensive coordinator David Shaw, who guided the Cardinal to a second consecutive BCS bowl berth last season.

Bowlsby also was a key component in working with Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in securing the league’s groundbreaking multimedia rights agreement that extends through 2024.

He also has been appointed to the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors, elected chair of the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee and represented the NCAA as one of two voting members on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors. Bowlsby also served as a member of the NCAA/U.S. Olympic Committee Task Force.

Bowlsby graduated from Minnesota State-Moorhead in 1975 and has a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1978.