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Bob Bowlsby's hiring as commissioner is a good sign for the Big 12 Conference

Bowlsby admits he was skeptical, that he had little faith in the Big 12 Conference. But any reservations were put to rest during interview.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 4, 2012

“Cooler heads prevailed,” Bowlsby said.

Bowlsby met with the three presidents on the search committee – OSU's Burns Hargis, Texas' Bill Powers and Kansas State's Kirk Schulz.

“I came into the discussion with some apprehension, because I, like many people, had a vision of this conference as being unstable,” Bowlsby said.

But Bowlsby said he instead found a group of committed CEOs.

OK. But anything substantial besides the flowery talk from presidents who are in their position in part because they can shovel the old windsong?

“That's fair,” Bowlsby said. But here's why he believes in the Big 12 stability. The granting of media rights, which virtually binds every school for at least six years and, if they extend it to the upcoming ABC contract, even longer. Plus the round-robin scheduling in football and basketball, which Bowlsby calls “a commitment to strength. A commitment like that speaks volumes about the philosophy of the league.

“The combination of the discussions with the presidents, my own research that I've done privately and some things that are very tangible, like the things I've just mentioned, are all indicative of that mutual commitment.”

Bowlsby said he asked the presidents tough questions. Questions that probably put them on the spot. He didn't specify, but we can guess. The Longhorn Network. OU's wandering eye. Revenue disparity.

The presidents sold Bowlsby on the Big 12. Now Bowlsby's job is to sell others.

Who knows if he will be successful? But just taking the job was a good way to start.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
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 Oklahoman,...
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