Embattled Big 12 leader is out

The conference said the move involving Dan Beebe was by "mutual agreement."

Posted: September 23, 2011

Big Twelve commissioner Dan Beebe is out after the conference nearly collapsed for the second time in just over a year.

In a statement, the Big Twelve said its board of directors and Beebe reached a "mutual agreement" for Beebe to leave the job immediately.

Former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas told the Associated Press earlier Thursday that he had been contacted about serving as interim commissioner. Big Twelve school presidents were meeting Thursday by telephone to discuss Beebe and stabilize the fractured league.

Texas A&M announced earlier this month that it would leave in 2012 to seek membership in the Southeastern Conference. And Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech were considering a potential move from the Big Twelve to the Pac-12 until the latter announced Tuesday that it would not expand.

"I put all my effort into doing what was best for the Big Twelve. With great fondness, I wish the Big Twelve Conference a long and prosperous future," Beebe said in a statement released by the conference.

The 54-year-old Beebe, who was in his fifth year as the leader of the Big Twelve, became an easy target for schools upset about instability in the league.

Critics portrayed him as constantly being outmaneuvered by other league commissioners who were picking off his teams one by one and as someone beholden to Texas, the Big Twelve's biggest and wealthiest member.

Last fall, Beebe was granted a three-year extension on his contract through 2015. When the extension was announced, University of Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, chairman of the league's board of directors, said Beebe had been "an outstanding leader" during challenging times.

Beebe, a former NCAA enforcement director, was commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference for 13 years before joining the Big Twelve in 2003 as associate commissioner and chief operating officer. Beebe was named Big Twelve commissioner in 2007.

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