New Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says problems with Texas are 'in the past'

BIG 12 SPORTS -- The Big 12 introduced new commissioner Bob Bowlsby in Irving, Texas, on Friday. Bowlsby talked about a number of issues including expansion and Big 12 instability.
BY BERRY TRAMEL, Staff Writer, btramel@opubco.com Published: May 4, 2012
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The Big 12 introduced new commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Friday at conference headquarters. Bowlsby will remain the Stanford athletic director until June, when he comes on board to lead the Big 12.

Bowlsby opened his press conference by saying, “I can't tell you how much better I feel about Stanford's (Fiesta Bowl) loss to Oklahoma State this morning, compared to the early January evening in which I lived it last,” Bowlsby said.

“I am very proud and humbled to be here. Very excited to be leading this unbelievably tradition-rich organization. It has been extraordinary over the years. Not only in athletic competition but also in shaping and building some of the greatest student-athletes in the history of American sports.”

Bowlsby answered a variety of questions Friday. Here are some excerpts:

On the problems with the University of Texas that led some to leave the league:

Bowlsby: “I think it's in the past. I've known (Texas AD) DeLoss Dodds longer than either of us would care to admit. I have been very impressed with President (Bill) Powers. I think they're speaking with one voice. I have found them to be very thoughtful, very team-oriented in terms of how they view the issues.

“I asked some probing questions along those lines. Because the University of Texas is always going to be an 800-pound gorilla in collegiate athletics, that isn't going to change. But I have been very impressed with the extent to which the folks at the University of Texas are committed to the conference and committed to the best outcomes, not only for them, but the other nine members.”

On the instability of the Big 12 the last two years:

Bowlsby: “I have to admit to you that I came into the discussion with the three presidents (on the search committee) with whom I met, with some apprehension, because I, like many people, had a vision of this conference as being unstable. What I found instead was a group of chief executives that were very committed to one another. And very committed to the best principles of intercollegiate athletics. I was very quickly put at ease relative to the stability of the group and the ongoing commitment to one another. That made this process a much easier one.”

On the new-look Big 12, which is adding West Virginia and TCU in July, with Missouri and Texas A&M moving to the Southeastern Conference:

Bowlsby: “The addition of West Virginia and TCU are two terrific additions to the league. I'm excited about that. I have the unique experience of having (WVU athletic director) Oliver Luck, not only as a colleague as an athletic director formerly, but as the parent of a student-athlete (quarterback Andrew Luck) at our institution. I know him very well and look forward to working with him and President (James) Clements. Likewise, I've known (AD) Chris Del Conte at TCU for a very long time. Very familiar with that program and what they've done. I think they are extraordinary additions to the conference that fit hand in glove with what we're going to try and do.”

On expanding to 12 or staying at 10:

Bowlsby: “One of the great ironies of college athletics right now is the Big Ten has 12 and the Big 12 has 10. I think expansion is going to be an ongoing point of consideration for us.

“I haven't had the opportunity to talk with all the presidents about this issue and I haven't had the opportunity to talk with all but a couple of the athletic directors, so I certainly am not going to presume a direction we will go.

“But as you consider expansion, it has to be expansion that has as its roots the enhancement of the league. There's nothing magic about 11, 12 or 10. To the extent that we can do things that advance our agenda, we ought to at least consider that. But I come in with no preconceived notions as to what the right number is.

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