DALLAS -- In his early years as Big 12 commissioner, Kevin
Weiberg's job was to mediate the tense marriage of the
Midwest-based Big Eight and four Southwest Conference schools in
Weiberg, who caught Big 12 athletic directors by surprise
Thursday when he announced he was resigning next month to take a
job with the new Big Ten Network, was part-commissioner and
"The conference was new and the working relationships were not
well-established," Weiberg said. "This was to some extent
Conference Building 101."
Weiberg, who started in December 1998, built the Big 12 into one
of college sports' wealthiest and most competitive conferences. He
is credited with doubling the annual revenue distributed to member
schools from $54 million in his first year to a record $106 million
last year. Big 12 teams won 27 NCAA championships and 200
individual national titles during his tenure.
His ability to keep money flowing into the coffers of member
schools helped smooth over early distrust in the new conference.
Big Eight holdovers looked at the Big 12 as an expansion, whereas
the Texas schools looked at it as a new venture.
Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said Weiberg brought
unity to the Big 12. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds praised the outgoing
commissioner's "critical leadership during the growth of the Big
Kevin took it from a group of people who walked into a room with some suspicion to a group that works pretty well together
Harvey Perlman, chairman of the Big 12 Board of Directors
"Kevin took it from a group of people who walked into a room
with some suspicion to a group that works pretty well together,"
said Harvey Perlman, Nebraska's chancellor and chairman of the Big
12 Board of Directors.
No replacement has been named. A consulting group probably will
help identify candidates, and an interim commissioner is likely
after Weiberg leaves in mid-July, Perlman said.
Weiberg said he felt the timing was right to make a change. He
helped complete TV agreements with ABC and ESPN through the 2015-16
academic year. Championship sites for major sports are in place for
the next four years, and established bowl agreements will last
through the 2009-10 season.
In 2001, Weiberg lost a family member when a plane carrying
members of the Oklahoma State men's basketball program crashed in
Colorado, killing 10. Among the dead was Jared Weiberg, a student
manager on the team and the commissioner's nephew.
During his tenure, Weiberg became a powerful insider in college
sports. He served as coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series
for the 2004-05 seasons. Before that, he was a member of the NCAA
men's basketball selection committee for three years.
One of Weiberg's darkest days as commissioner came in 2001, when
a plane carrying members of the Oklahoma State men's basketball
program crashed in Colorado, killing 10. Among the dead was Jared
Weiberg, a student manager on the team and the commissioner's
Weiberg's new job is the vice president of university planning
and development for the Big Ten Network, which plans to launch in
August. The network, a joint venture of the Big Ten Conference and
Fox Cable Networks, will cover Big Ten athletic and academic
The Big Ten and Mountain West have their own cable networks, an
option Weiberg said his Big 12 successor will have to explore.
"There are some attractive features to it, but our members at
the end of the day did not feel like it was right for them,"
Weiberg said. "I think the possibility of a channel down the road
is something they will have to come back to."
Steve Hatchell was the Big 12's first commissioner, serving two
years after the league began competition in 1996. Dave Martin
served in an interim role until Weiberg was hired.