Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

Big 12 removes interim tag from Beebe

Conference’s new commissioner vows to keep fans on cutting edge of technology

September 6, 2007

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— Dan Beebe was hired as Big 12 Conference commissioner Wednesday with an eye toward reaching fans with newer technologies and making new revenues.

Beebe was awarded the job permanently after taking the job in an interim role in July. The Big 12's chief operating officer since joining the conference in 2003, he emerged from a field of five finalists to become the third commissioner of the 12-year-old conference.

"We were impressed by his experience, his talents and his vision about how to take this conference to the next level," said Harvey Perlman, the Big 12 board chairman and University of Nebraska chancellor.

Beebe replaces Kevin Weiberg, who held the post for nine years but left to take a job with the Big Ten Network.

The network, a joint venture of the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks, covers Big Ten athletic and academic events.

Beebe said one of his challenges will be keeping the conference on the technological edge of the way fans consume entertainment and keep track of their teams. He wouldn't say the Big 12 was inevitably headed toward its own network but left the door open.

Beebe, who agreed to a five-year contract, spent 14 years running the Ohio Valley Conference before coming to the Big 12.

"We are very excited to have Dan Beebe as the next Big 12 Conference commissioner," Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins said. "I have personally known Dan for some 20-plus years.

"He brings a great deal of integrity and is somebody with an extremely powerful vision," Perkins added. "He is going to help take us to the next stage of college athletics."

Beebe said he intends to talk to each school in the conference about revenue sharing but wouldn't reveal what any discussions might entail. The Big 12 generated $106 million in revenue in 2006-07.

By comparison, the SEC split $122 million among 12 member schools.

"We do share the lion's share of our revenue equally," Beebe said. "There are portions we don't share equally, and to that extent, we'll have discussions."

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.

Five Big 12 teams have played in the Bowl Championship Series title game, more than any other conference.

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