include this exact phrase:
10:15 a.m. CDT, May 4, 2012
The Big 12 Conference, which faced extinction last summer when Texas and Oklahoma considered moving to the Pacific 12, has turned to a prominent athletic director from that league to be its new commissioner.
Bob Bowlsby, who in almost seven years at Stanford has continued to build the Cardinal into one of the elite programs in the country, will be named to the Big 12 post today.
Bowlsby, 60, will start his new job on June 15. He informed Stanford officials on Thursday and told the American-Statesman in the afternoon that he was planning to leave for Dallas later that evening. The conference has called a morning press conference to introduce him.
Bowlsby said he'd prefer not to comment on his new role now.
"Why don't we wait until tomorrow?" Bowlsby said when asked about taking the Big 12 job.
Asked why he would take a job and relocate at his age, Bowlsby declined and said, "I'd just as soon wait and get all the details out tomorrow at the same time. I'll be happy to talk then."
In the Big 12, Bowlsby will be faced with two large issues: expansion and television rights.
Last year, the Big 12 saw Nebraska leave for the Big Ten and Colorado depart for the Pac-10. This summer, Texas A&M and Missouri will leave for the Southeastern Conference.
Bowlsby will oversee continued debate -- as of now, debate lacking consensus -- on whether the Big 12 should remain at 10 teams or expand to at least 12. Notre Dame and Louisville are believed to be the programs the league would pursue if it decides to expand.
Also, the Big 12 reportedly is on the verge of extending its television contract with ESPN that would earn the league $2.5 billion over the next 13 years when combined with its current deal with Fox TV. The ESPN extension would sync up with the Fox contract.
Stanford, which sponsors 35 men's and women's sports, enjoyed remarkable success under Bowlsby. He has continued the school's streak of 17 straight Learfield Sports Director Cup victories. The award goes annually to the program with the most success in all sports.
Cardinal football also flourished under Bowlsby, who hired Jim Harbaugh as coach in 2006. Stanford has appeared in BCS bowls each of the past two seasons, and produced the No. 1 overall pick in last month's NFL draft when quarterback Andrew Luck went to the Indianapolis Colts.
Bowlsby becomes the Big 12's seventh commissioner -- three served on an interim basis -- since the league's inception in 1995. He replaces Chuck Neinas, the interim commissioner since 2011 when Dan Beebe resigned after five years.
An Iowa native, who prior to Stanford was the athletic director at the University of Iowa from 1991-2006, Bowlsby inherits a league craving stability after being caught up in a two-year period of conference realignment that saw it lose four schools and gain two.
After informing Stanford coaches and officials of his decision in a 10-minute meeting Thursday morning, he exited with tears in his eyes to a "roaring ovation," according to the Associated Press.
Bowlsy is expected to bring a calm, stabilizing presence to the league.
"Bob has been a great friend and confidant. Bob has tremendous experience, intellect and integrity," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who endorsed Bowlsby for the job. "I'm sorry we will lose him from Stanford, but I am happy for him and believe he will do a terrific job for the Big 12."
Bowlsby was the pick of a Big 12 search committee that included school presidents William Powers Jr. of Texas, Guy Bailey of Texas Tech and Burns Hargis of Oklahoma State.
The Big 12 also incorporated the services of Korn/Ferry International, a large executive recruiting firm headquartered in Los Angeles.
"The institutions of the Big 12 wanted a commissioner that could take us to the next era as a conference with the addition of TCU and WVU, and we unanimously agreed Bog is that leader," Hargis said in a statement.
"... He understands enhancing athletic competition among conference schools, the challenge of balancing academics and athletics for our student-athletes, and working with our broadcast and bowl partners."
Others believed to have been in contention for the position were Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, Greg Shaheen, who ran the NCAA men's basketball tournament before his controversial ouster this spring; and Burke Magnus, ESPN's senior vice president of college programming.