By Jacob Jaffe
According to multiple sources, Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby has been offered the job of Big 12 commissioner and is expected to accept the job. Bowlsby will replace interim commissioner Chuck Neinas, who stepped in as interim commissioner when Dan Beebe, who had been the commissioner since 2007, was fired in September 2011.
The 60-year-old Bowlsby, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, was the athletic director at Northern Iowa from 1984-1991 and the athletic director at the University of Iowa from 1991-2006. Bowlsby replaced Ted Leland as Stanford’s sixth athletic director in April 2006.
In addition to his experience in Iowa and on the Farm, Bowlsby is also on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors, and was the head of the NCAA Basketball Selection Committee in 2006.
Under his leadership, Stanford has continued its tradition of athletic success, extending its unprecedented streak of consecutive seasons with an NCAA title to 35 years. The Cardinal also became the second athletics program ever with 100 NCAA team titles. Stanford added the inaugural women’s Capital One Cup to its trophy case to go along with its 17 consecutive Directors’ Cups. In 2011, Bowlsby signed a contract extension with Stanford that ran through 2017.
Bowlsby was highly influential in the resurgence of Stanford football during his time on the Farm, as he hired Jim Harbaugh as the head football coach in 2006. Bowlsby was also instrumental in the hiring process for Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and in the negotiations for the Pac-12’s $3 billion dollar television deal in 2011.
The Big 12 Conference is in the midst of change, starting with the departures of Colorado and Nebraska to the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively, last year. After a year with 10 schools, the Big 12 lost two more when Missouri and Texas A&M decided to leave for the SEC. Faced with the possibility of collapse, the Big 12 has agreed to add West Virginia and TCU to get back to 10 schools for next season.