“From what I can gather, we and the people in the conference are pretty excited about the 10 institutions that we have right now.”
On changing the perception of the Big 12:
Bowlsby: “It's one of the early initiatives I need to undertake along with staff. We have to work hard to make it known broadly, not only to people that we're trying to enter in to business relationships with, but also people that are out there in the hustings and are supporters of our universities and observers of our universities.
“I stated my reservation when I came in, I stated them directly to the presidents that were there. I probed and asked some questions about how we got to where we had gotten to. I was very satisfied, and probably be correct to say I was encouraged and impressed with the stability and the mutual commitment.
“At this point, I have no reservations about that and I am anxious to move forward, under the assumption that the 10 members are really committed to one another and committed to taking on the questions that were embodied in the first two questions as a homogenous group, a group that's going to take a thoughtful and one for all and all for one approach as to how we deal with those issues.”
On what promises stability beyond presidential assurance:
Bowlsby: “There are a number of indicators. For instance, the nine-game football schedule is a statement of mutual support. There are a lot of other institutions and leagues that haven't been able to get there, to a full round robin.
The round robin in men's and women's basketball is another indication of that. Those are difficult things to do, because for the most part, coaches oppose those kinds of things. It's easier to find a non-conference opponent for that ninth game than it is to play a league game. That's a commitment to strength.
“Playing a full round robin, if I put my chairman's hat back on for the basketball committee, I would tell you that one of the best markers in the post season of legitimacy is a full round robin conference champion in basketball. When you look at some of the leagues, they have four no plays, four one play and a little bit of a round robin among the rest. You never know what kind of credibility the league schedule has. That's a commitment that, probably if the truth were said, basketball coaches would rather play additional non-conf. home games. But 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.”
On the granting of media rights, which for at least six years seems to have stabilized the conference:
Bowlsby: “The grant of rights is certainly the essence of any ongoing media package. The longer we go, presumably the more stable we are.
“But I'm satisfied with the mutual responsibility and commitment each of the institutions have. Just as in the discussion of expansion, it's important we look at it through the lens of what do the various options do for us. You have to take the long view as well as the short view.
“You look at the contracts that are out there, most of them are very long contracts. They're between 12 and 15 years. There always are ongoing conversations about the media environment. We will certainly continue those and engage vigorously. There again, I don't know that there have been any decisions made. I think there will be some options that present themselves.”