ARLINGTON, Texas —Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed the large group of reporters at the league’s annual football media days without much news or concerns.
Life has been good for the 67-year-old Bowlsby as he enters the eighth year in his role. He reported that the league distributed about 93 percent of its revenue, a percentage he believes is highest nationally. The Big 12 made $373.9 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, according to USA Today.
Here’s a look at some other things he had to say:
Q: I just wanted to ask about realignment. That was a hot topic last off-season. What is the conference’s thinking about realignment and adding new members this season, along with TV revenues in the future?
Bob Bowlsby: That would be the seventh year in a row we have been asked that question first, so congratulations. You are setting records. We have had no expansion discussion at any level. We like the ten we have. We think the full Round Robin is the right way to conduct competition and in the case of our basketball, full double Round Robin. We are distributing record revenues and we have heretofore unanticipated media opportunities and I don’t expect that to be an active topic on anybody’s agenda within the conference anytime in the foreseeable future.
Q: Two years into the title game, is everything positive about it? Is there anything negative about it? Did having OU-Texas in the title game enhance the game or rivalry?
Bowlsby: I think it can’t do anything but enhance the rivalry, although it’s fair to argue that that rivalry couldn’t be enhanced any more than it already is. It’s pretty highly anticipated. I think this year’s game with OU and Texas picked one and two in the league probably has more anticipation to it than what we may have had before and of course that is multiplied by the fact that they played in the championship game last year.
Having said that, I’m not naive enough to think there isn’t going to be a year when our co-champions are or our first and second place teams are 9-3 and 8-4 and at that point it takes the luster off of it from a national championship game standpoint, but it isn’t going to diminish the competition.
Q: Is OU’s success (and Kansas in men’s hoops, Baylor women’s) a good thing or bad thing to have one team dominate?
Bowlsby: I think the better competition the better our conference is. Ideally we don’t want a situation we had two years ago where we had two schools that had one win between them. That’s not top-to-bottom competition. Lincoln Riley’s a terrific coach and Oklahoma has great tradition and they’ve got outstanding student athletes here. They’re going to be good all the time and you can say the same thing about Baylor and Kansas. They’ve earned the position they’re in, but we’ll see how it goes. They got all but what, six first-place votes this year? Most of you think they’re pretty good.
Q: Has communication has gotten tougher with OU because of three presidents in three years, a fourth next year, etc.?
Bowlsby: I’ve worked with all three of them very effectively. David Boren was our chair the last year he was in the conference. Jim Gallogly was very active and involved in our conference meetings. I don’t think he ever missed a meeting. And I’m told there was a day when the CEOs didn’t always come to the board meeting. And now Joe, I’ve just met him at one set of meetings, I’m going up to visit with him later in the month so I think he’ll do a great job and I know he and Joe Castiglione are close and so I expect he’ll have a good 15 months and then they’ll evaluate whether he stays.
Q: Has your position on playoff expansion evolved at all going into the season? Do you feel like the sport is headed toward that at some point?
Bowlsby: I’m looking at the back row and been looking at Kirby Hocutt and Bill Hancock. Bill is anxiously awaiting my answer to this. He knows that I’m capable of going off the reservation. We have had a lot of discussions. We are evaluating the current environment, which as I stated earlier I think we all agree is superior to any of the predecessor organizations but I’m not going to get into any of the specifics of what we’re talking about. We have had some conversations. We’re going to have some more.