The Big 12 Conference announced Tuesday afternoon that commissioner Bob Bowlsby will be stepping away from his post.

An exact timeline was not given, but the conference said it will happen “later this year.” Bowlsby will remain in the position until the appointment of a new commissioner is made, the conference said, and then will transition to a “new interim role with the conference.”

Bowlsby, who turned 70 in January, has been the Big 12 commissioner since 2012, and last fall was a central figure in the conference adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF after Texas and Oklahoma announced they were going to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

“After more than 40 years of serving in leadership roles in intercollegiate athletics, including the last 10 with the Big 12, and given the major issues that college sports in general and the Big 12 specifically will address in the next several years, I have reached a natural transition point in my tenure as commissioner, as well as in my career,” Bowlsby said in a statement. 

“The Big 12 will soon bring in our four new members and negotiate a new grant of rights and media rights agreements. I truly believe the Big 12 and our member institutions are in a strong position now and as we look into the future.

“As such, this is an appropriate time for me to step away from the commissioner’s role so that the next leader of the conference can take the reins on these significant matters that will come to the forefront before the end of the term of my employment agreement in 2025 to set the stage for the Big 12’s future ongoing success.” 

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The conference said it will use the help of a search firm to find Bowlsby’s replacement, a process it said it will start “in the next few weeks.”

To give some context as to the types of people the Big 12 could identify as Bowlsby’s replacement, the Pac-12 hired George Kliavkoff from MGM Resorts International last year, while the ACC hired Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips.

Bowlsby had most recently been the athletic director at Stanford when he was hired as Big 12 commissioner.

Apprehensive about expanding the Big 12 when it became a hot topic in 2016, Bowlsby’s hand was forced last fall when Texas and Oklahoma left, but as recently as February, he said, “BYU has been exceptional in athletics for a very long time. They bring tremendous credibility to our league.”