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B.A., Physical Education, Boise State University
On June 30, 2019, Karl Benson stepped aside as Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference, ending a 47-year career in intercollegiate athletics – as a student-athlete, coach, and athletics administrator. Since 1990, Benson served as the only Commissioner of three different Football Bowl Championship conferences – Mid-American, Western Athletic and Sun Belt.
During his 29 years as a Commissioner, Benson was at the center of the influence of TV on the sports of football and men’s basketball, watching the rights fees of both escalate to billon-dollar industries. He was also “around the table” as the Football Bowl Alliance was created that subsequently merged into the Football Bowl Championship Series, and ultimately, the College Football Playoff.
Benson served on the NCAA Management Council from 1999-2002 and on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee from 2002-2006.
Prior to taking the reins of the MAC in 1990, Benson served on the NCAA staff for more than four years, where he was the director of NCAA championships.
A native of Washington, Benson graduated from high school in Pullman, and attended Spokane Falls Community College. He received a Bachelor of Science in physical education from Boise State University in 1975.
Benson played baseball at both Spokane Falls Community College and Boise State University before serving as the baseball coach at Fort Steilacoom Community College in Tacoma, Washington for eight years, and as the director of athletics at Fort Steilacoom from 1979 to 1984.
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