Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Bowlsby’s time as commissioner of the Big 12 Conference has not lacked for fireworks and notable stories. But whatever the future may hold for the Big 12, Bowlsby will not be part of its leadership. The conference announced on Tuesday that Bowlsby will step down from the commissioner’s chair later this year.

As Bowlsby’s contract goes into 2025, he will remain with the conference through then but in a different role.

“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,” said Bowlsby 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.”

In one sense it’s good timing for Bowlsby to announce he’s stepping down from the role he’s held since 2012. Conference member Kansas just won the men’s basketball national championship, one of 25 NCAA team national championships that the Big 12 claimed during his tenure. And the conference is about to welcome some new members to expand its footprint, including BYU, Cincinnati, and Central Florida.

However, it’s hard not to reconcile the fact that he’s also the commissioner who let Nebraska leave for the Big Ten and was in charge when Texas and Oklahoma announced plans to leave for the SEC. The conference is fighting for its position as a power in the college football landscape and will find that battle to be an uphill climb in the years ahead.

Bowlsby leaves behind a complicated and fascinating legacy as commissioner of the Big 12 and there were plenty of reactions to the news, from the comical to the concerned.



[Dallas News]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.