8 Big 12 Commissioner Candidates That Aren’t From the Pac 12
The Big 12 commissioner search has been pretty quiet over the last two weeks since Bob Bowlsby announced that he was stepping away and a new commissioner would be named in the next 90 days. Either that's because there is already a plan of succession in place and this all began last July, or the Big 12 was blindsided again.
According to the Big 12 Chair and Texas Tech President Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, the Bowlsby decision was entirely mutual. The current and future members of the Big 12 all agree that a "new" conference needs a new leader.
Dr. Schovanec joined the Raiderland with Ryan Hyatt and discussed the hiring process and he gave some criteria for the future Big 12 commissioner to have when doing the search. His main concern was that the future leader of the conference is balanced between media and athletics.
You can listen to Dr. Schovanec's entire comments here.
That's straight from the horse's mouth on what the Big 12 conference is looking for: a balance between being knowledgeable on media rights and knowing how to run athletic departments on a college campus. Dr. Schovanec also mentioned things like fresh eyes but also wants someone with institutional knowledge of the current members and what they want moving forward.
I see all of those criteria and then I see publications putting out candidates like Kirk Schulz, who covers exactly zero of those bases. The athletic is the latest to mention Schulz, who is the current president of Washington State University.
I don't know anything about the Big 12 commissioner search beyond what I heard from Dr. Schovanec. My only real knowledge of the situation comes from what I've seen in the Big 12 watching the conference over the last two decades. I'm also positive that Matt Fortuna has better industry sources than I do, but it's my opinion that the piece above is entirely off base. The focus on university presidents is so far outside of anything the conference should be focusing on I hope he's entirely wrong.
The leading candidate, to me, is fairly obvious. The next few are ADs at schools in the conference and maybe around the country like Alabama's Greg Byrne. Any other candidate should follow in the steps of the Big Ten and Pac 12 and go completely off the board. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren worked for the Minnesota Vikings before taking the job. The Pac 12 went and got a media executive.
The Big 12's major, nay, only concern in the next five years is negotiating a brand new deal with a company that will broadcast their games. Whether that's ESPN, FOX, HULU, Amazon or Elon Musk, I don't know, but that deal will decide the fate of every school that calls itself a Big 12 member.
I took it upon myself to put together a list of candidates I think fit those bills.