UPDATE: Thursday, May 3, 2012
A person with direct knowledge of the situation says Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby has accepted the open Big 12 commissioner's job.
Bowlsby will take over for interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas. The person spoke Thursday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league had not made an announcement.
Bowlsby is in his sixth full season at Stanford. He was hired away from Iowa in 2006, following 15 years running the Hawkeyes' athletic department. Bowlsby has helped oversee the transformation of the Stanford football program back into a national power.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby has been offered the Big 12 commissioner job to replace the ousted Dan Beebe, a person with knowledge of the search said Wednesday night.
The person confirmed that Bowlsby had received the offer after ESPN first reported the news, but didn't know whether he planned to accept the job. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the offer weren't made public.
Bowlsby is a nationally respected college administrator in his sixth full season at Stanford. He was hired away from Iowa in the spring of 2006, following 15 years running the Hawkeyes' athletic department. Stanford's rigorous academic standards present unique circumstances, and Bowlsby has shined and helped oversee the transformation of the football program back into a national power.
Bowlsby, who passed up several chances to leave Stanford previously, has served on NCAA committees and had a role in the recently expanded conference landing its own television network - something the Big 12 is working to finalize itself.
The Pac-12 held a February groundbreaking for its networks in downtown San Francisco before it hits the air with a national cable television network, six regional networks and a digital network this fall.
After reaching a 12-year contract worth about $3 billion last May with Fox and ESPN, the conference announced plans to launch a new conference-owned network to supplement coverage and create more exposure for Pac-12 athletes.
Beebe was fired in September 2011 and replaced on an interim basis by Chuck Neinas when the Big 12 was in turmoil.
While Texas A&M was in the process of leaving for the Southeastern Conference, and Oklahoma, Texas and others were again flirting with the Pac-12, Beebe was ousted from a job he held for five years.
After Beebe was let go, Neinas, the former Big Eight commissioner, stepped in but still couldn't keep Missouri from joining Texas A&M in leaving for the SEC. In 2010, under Beebe's watch, Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten and Colorado departed for the Pac-12.
The Big 12 has seemed to stabilize since Missouri's departure, adding TCU and West Virginia to get back to 10 members.
The conference is reportedly working toward a new television deal with ESPN, and Neinas was pushing members to agree to a longterm grant of media rights to the league that would make it all but impossible for schools to bolt.
No deal has been struck yet, but that will likely be among the first items on the agenda for the next commissioner.