Big 12’s Bowlsby: TCU has been wonderful addition; ‘bullish’ on future of conference

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is “bullish” on the future of the conference.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is “bullish” on the future of the conference. AP

TCU may not have an alumni base the size of Texas or Oklahoma. Amon G. Carter Stadium may not be a 100,000-seat football mecca.

But the Frogs have been a welcomed addition to the Big 12 since joining the league in 2012.

“TCU has been terrific,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “They’ve been a wonderful addition to the league.”

Bowlsby spoke to the Star-Telegram last week at a Dallas Influencers in Sports and Entertainment (DISE) luncheon last week, and only sees positives coming from the TCU community.

Bowlsby particularly praised the coaches of the three main sports. Football coach Gary Patterson has turned his program into one of the top in the nation; men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon snapped a 20-year NCAA tournament drought last season; and baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle has built the Frogs into a perennial contender for the College World Series.

“Gary Patterson is one of the great football coaches of the United States and he’s going to be in the College Football Hall of Fame one day,” Bowlsby said. “Having Jamie Dixon join, the baseball program has been strong under Schloss, so there’s just a lot of great things going on there.”

Bowlsby went on to rave about TCU’s new athletics director Jeremiah Donati and chancellor Victor Boschini for their influence and input on the league.

“Jeremiah Donati is a superstar,” Bowlsby said. “Victor Boschini is very influential and active on our board of directors. So TCU has a big footprint in the Big 12. TCU is in great shape.”

Bowlsy feels the same about the conference itself.

The Big 12 had schools reach the College Football Playoff (Oklahoma), Final Four (Kansas) and College World Series (Texas and Texas Tech) last season. They should have programs in contention for those postseason events again this season.

“We’re in great shape,” Bowlsby said. “We had a terrific year last year and we have a lot of highly competitive teams this year. Competitively we’re in good shape, the universities are great leaders in their respective areas, so I feel very bullish about the future of the conference.”

That includes staying at 10 schools for the time being. The Big 12 went through an application process a couple years ago with multiple schools trying to sell themselves to the conference, but they didn’t feel any were worthy of expanding for.

The conference schools like having a bigger piece of the distribution pie, and the 10 schools work well for scheduling purposes. Everybody plays each other in football, and the basketball season features home-and-home dates.

“I think great rivalries are what makes great stadium attendance and I think our league is in very good shape with the situation it’s currently in,” Bowlsby said. “We went through a long [expansion] process that was a very thoughtful process and, in the end, we didn’t have anybody who could garner the necessary eight votes to join the league.

“That may change at some point in time, but it hasn’t so far.”

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