The Big 12 is finalizing a deal to hire Scott Draper of the American Athletic Conference as the league’s new vice president in charge of football, sources told ESPN on Monday.
Draper spent the last eight seasons running football at the AAC, where he served as the primary contact for the league’s coaches and administers. His job at the AAC included everything from scheduling to officiating to operations, bowl relationships and the conference championship game.
Draper will take over for Ed Stewart, who left the Big 12 for a high-ranking role in the athletic department at USC after 16 years as the league’s top football administrator.
The hire of Draper is a critical one early in the tenure of first-year commissioner Brett Yormark, who came from the agency and business side of sports. Draper understands football dynamics and dealing with coaches, media partners and bowl politics from his time at the AAC.
During his time at AAC, Draper held the respect of the coaches and administrators in the league and came to the Big 12 job with high recommendations. It was attractive to the Big 12 that Draper wouldn’t require a learning curve or adjustment period. The Big 12 athletic directors were part of the hiring process and threw their support behind Draper’s candidacy.
Draper’s time at the AAC includes working hands on with new Big 12 members UCF, Cincinnati and Houston, which will bring relevant experience as those programs transition into the league next year.
Draper is a former assistant athletic director for football operations at Michigan, where he also worked as a graduate assistant and video coordinator. He was on staff for the program’s 1997 national title.