Berry Tramel

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Big 12 football: Britton Banowsky for commissioner?

by Berry Tramel Published: September 23, 2011

During his kickoff teleconference Friday, interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas dropped the name of Britton Banowsky, using the Conference USA commissioner as an example of quality leadership.

Sudden thought: Is Banowsky the next permanent commissioner of the embattled Big 12?

Some around the league have mentioned Banowsky as the likely successor to Neinas, or Dan Beebe, depending on how you look at it. Big 12 presidents jettisoned Beebe on Thursday, a sacrifice to those upset that the Big 12 is about to lose another school. The Big 12 will be down to nine members from its original dozen, when Texas A&M departs.

Banowsky, 51, holds degrees in business and law from OU. His father, Bill, was OU’s president from 1978 through 1984.

Neinas brought up Banowsky’s name when asked if the Big 12 would consider expansion targets from Conference USA or the Mountain West, leagues with which Neinas is working on an alliance project. Neinas said under that scenario, he would talk with the commissioners of those leagues.

Neinas talked about how Banowsky handled the mass defection of schools from Conference USA in 2005 (Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, South Florida, North Carolina-Charlotte, Saint Louis and TCU). “He handled it in an unbelievable manner,” Neinas said. “He provided opportunity for them to leave without disrupting the operation.”

Banowsky has been Conference USA commissioner for nine years. He replaced Mike Slive, who became commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.

Banowsky was an assistant commissioner of the old Southwest Conference. He then became commissioner of the Southland Conference. Banowsky joined the Big 12 during its formation in 1995, as legal counsel and associate commissioner.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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