Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby made about $2.5 million in total compensation last year. The amount of money doesn’t really bother me; in the context of what CEOs make these days, that amount doesn’t strike me as being out of line for someone running an operation that’s returning almost $20 million a year to each of his bosses.
But I do have a question. What’s he being paid for? He’s running a sports league. His job requires that he manage the organization of the conference, but, let’s face it, what he’s being paid for is to maximize that revenue stream. That’s what the TV contracts, conference expansion and input into the CFP are all about (okay, maybe he didn’t do such a bang up job in the last department).
You know what Bowlsby isn’t paid for? He’s not paid for academics. He doesn’t teach. He doesn’t set curriculums. He doesn’t decide what priorities a given member school sets in how it allocates its academic budget, even. Nor does he lobby a state government or a board of regents for resources.
He runs a sports league. He cuts deals to make money. That’s basically it.
So why does anyone care what the likes of Bob Bowlsby or Jim Delany has to say about the academic experience of freshman athletes? The answer is, that’s only relevant in so far as how it affects their primary responsibility. It’s a means to an end, nothing more.