What Role Will BYU, New Big 12 Members Have In Commissioner Search?

Apr 6, 2022, 12:10 PM
BYU - Baylor - Big 12 Commissioner - Tom Holmoe - Mack Rhoades...
Members of the BYU and Baylor administrations with former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby at the BYU-Baylor football game in 2021. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – The search for a new commissioner in the Big 12 Conference is in full effect. After leading the conference since 2012, Bob Bowlsby is stepping away from the conference.

Bowlsby had his share of ups and downs, especially after being blindsided by the move of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. However, he bounced back and put the league on stable footing by adding BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston.

But who is going to replace Bowlsby?

That is still to be determined. According to reports, the Big 12 wants its next commissioner in place within 90 days.

With the transition from Bowlsby to a new commissioner expected to move fast, will there be any input from the future members? The four new institutions in the league won’t join until July 1, 2023. How much input will they have?

Texas Tech President Dr. Lawrence Schovanec told the Dallas Morning News that BYU, UCF,  Cincinnati, and Houston would be involved. However, Baylor Athletic Director Mack Rhoades, who just signed a 10-year contract extension one day before Bowlsby’s announcement, believes the focus should center on the eight remaining institutions.

Baylor AD weighed in on potential input from new Big 12 members in the commissioner search

“I think that the process is to be determined. You know, I know that the press release talks about getting a search firm involved. But I think that process is still probably fluid,” said Rhoades to SicEm365 Radio on Tuesday.

Rhoades continued, “I think there will be a space for the new schools –again, one person’s opinion– there will be a space for the new schools to certainly be updated and to have influence. But I would think that certainly the eight remaining are going to be the primary drivers. It could even be a smaller group of the eight potentially when you think of the Presidents. Again, one person’s opinion, but that’s probably the way I would frame it up.”

As we’ve seen with other conference expansion moves in the past, teams that move from Group of Five leagues to the power ranks don’t always get a full share or vote from the beginning. It’s no different for Independent BYU. When they join the Big 12 in 2023, the Cougars will receive 50% of the revenue share in the first two years. Then in 2025, with the new TV contract, they’ll get a full share.

During BYU football’s visit to Baylor last October, the Bears rolled out the Big 12 carpet for their future league mate. Even giving the media a sheet that was titled, “A United Future in the Big 12 Conference.”

Regardless of who has a say in the commissioner hire, the Big 12 has to hit a home run with this hire. From grant of rights, Playoff expansion, NIL, and the Transfer Portal, a lot is going on in college athletics. The Big 12 will need a leader who can guide them into their next era.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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