FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference Board of Directors has extended the contract of Commissioner Tom Burnett through June 30, 2016, the league announced Monday.
Now in his 10th year as the Southland’s chief executive officer, Burnett is the second longest tenured commissioner in the league’s nearly half-century of existence. He was named to his post on Dec. 22, 2002, after 11 years on the staff of the Sun Belt Conference.
“The Southland Board of Directors is very pleased to provide and announce this contract extension for Commissioner Tom Burnett,” Stephen F. Austin State University president and Board chairman Dr. Baker Pattillo said. “During his tenure, the Southland has
continued to improve academically and athletically, and the presidents have developed great confidence in Tom’s leadership, innovative thinking and foresight. His proven ability to work in the league’s best interests means the Southland Conference should expect
more accomplishments in the future.”
During his term as commissioner, the Southland has effectively managed the changes that have resulted from Division I conference realignment, first expanding to 12 members in 2006, and now planning to debut a 14-member conference lineup in 2013-14. The Southland
also has shown the greatest collective improvement in the NCAA’s Academic Performance Program by any Division I conference since the system began in 2004.
Additionally, the league began its first comprehensive corporate sponsorship program in 2004, entered into an unprecedented football officiating partnership with the Big 12 Conference in 2006, and also reinitiated the league’s neutral site men’s and women’s
basketball tournament in the Houston area in 2007.
Also during his tenure, the award-winning Southland Conference Television Network was formed in 2008, and in 2010, the Southland led a group of Frisco officials in the successful effort to play host to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game at FC
“It’s a great pleasure to serve the Southland Conference membership,” Burnett said. “To have the ongoing confidence of the Board of Directors is personally gratifying. I very much look forward to continuing to work with our great Conference staff as we keep
our focus on the academic achievements of our student-athletes and the overall competitive success of our athletic programs.”