The Big 12 on Friday introduced Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby as the conference commissioner, effective in June. Bowlsby answered a variety of questions. Here are some excerpts:
Question: You received a five-year contract. How does that relate to Big 12 stability?
Bowlsby: “I wouldn't have come if I wasn't planning on staying more than five years. I expect to work another 10 years, and I expect to work another 10 years at the Big 12.”
Ten or 12? How do you stand on expansion?
“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, so I certainly am not going to presume a direction we will go.
“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.”
At least two schools left the Big 12 because of Texas' perceived imbalance of power. Is there still an issue with the Longhorns?
“I think it's in the past. I've known (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-poind 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.”
What are your thoughts on The Longhorn Network?
“I think everybody wishes that they had The Longhorn Network available to them, and not everyone can do that. There are several in the league that have their own models … it's a challenge going forward. I think the presidents have given a lot of thought to how it fits together. I was satisfied with what I heard from them along those lines.”
What's your stance on the college football playoff?
“It's in its formative stages right now. Its last meeting certainly took some steps forward. I'm looking forward to being engaged in those discussions coming up. I would be presumptuous to speculate as to how it's going to turn out. The models are becoming more clear. There is lots of legitimate debate. I've heard the last BCS meetings characterized as highly businesslike, highly nonpartisan and really devoted to the mutual best interest of college football. I hope that's the case. I look forward to being involved in the dialogue and having a chance to help shape the future of college football as well as college athletics in general.”
Have you ever had a corny dog at the Texas State Fair?
“No, I haven't. But I'm looking forward to it.”
You said that as an athlete at Minnesota State-Moorhead, you competed on some current Big 12 campuses. Where?
“I wrestled in (OSU's) Gallagher Hall, and I wrestled in the old men's gym at Iowa State.”