MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE COMMISSIONER, Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher
Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher enters his fifth year with the Mid-American Conference (MAC) after being named the league’s eighth commissioner on March 16, 2009.
Steinbrecher has expanded bowl opportunities for the conference and stabilized conference membership in football, increased national and regional television exposure, launched the conference’s first-ever digital network, renegotiated the conference marketing rights agreement with IMG College and enhanced neutral site conference championships in basketball, volleyball and baseball.
Steinbrecher played an integral role in the development of the new College Football Playoff and serves on the BCS Administrative Committee. Steinbrecher secured a one-year contract extension of the ESPN syndicated package, and developed and implemented a new MAC Coaches Orientation program. He has secured the MAC bid to host the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional at Quicken Loans Arena and the 2014 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship.
Specifically in football, Steinbrecher has stabilized and increased conference membership with 13 programs as the MAC welcomed the addition of the University of Massachusetts (UMass) to begin as a football-only member in 2012. This provides the conference the opportunity to expand the conference footprint into New England and into the Boston and Hartford/Springfield markets.
Last season, Steinbrecher witnessed Northern Illinois earn the first ever BCS bowl berth by a MAC member in the Discover Orange Bowl and a conference record seven teams receive bowl invitations – Ball State (Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg), Bowling Green (Military Bowl), Central Michigan (Little Caesars Pizza), Kent State (GoDaddy.com), Ohio (AdvoCare V100 Independence) and Toledo (Famous Idaho Potato).
Steinbrecher has built upon the conference bowl agreements to a conference-best three primary (Little Caesars Pizza Bowl; GoDaddy Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) and multiple secondary agreements (Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl). These bowl agreements provide the MAC the opportunity to build on relationships with multiple bowl partners, expand national television exposure and broaden geographical opportunities to perform against other FBS conferences.
Steinbrecher directed a strategic planning process for the MAC, increased national exposure for the conference, as well as new opportunities for the conference in the areas of a new regional television network deal, marketing and sponsorships and securing long-term partnerships for MAC neutral site championship events.
In the summer of 2010, the MAC entered into a three-year regional television deal with SportsTime Ohio to expand its television coverage in football and men’s and women’s basketball. This provides the MAC a regional television presence for programming throughout the year, and increases promotion and marketing opportunities for the conference.
In 2011-12, Steinbrecher led the conference as it launched the first-ever MAC Digital Network in partnership with XOS Digital. This new initiative provided the conference with a new website, enhanced 16 x 9 video player for live streaming events and On-Demand programming, mobile platforms via the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and weekly video content featuring football, basketball and championship previews.
In 2011, Steinbrecher also negotiated a new marketing agreement with ISP for the conference marketing and sponsorship rights through 2019. ISP merged with IMG College and this long-term deal solidified the conference marketing partnership with the new IMG College brand.
Steinbrecher negotiated a six-year contract extension with Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena to host the FirstEnergy MAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Conference Tournament through 2017. The contract extension guarantees the continuation of the conference tournament at the same neutral site since 2000, originally Gund Arena and now named Quicken Loans Arena. Steinbrecher also announced in 2011 the MAC Women’s Volleyball Tournaments will move to SPIRE, part of the GaREAT family, located in Geneva, Ohio, a state of the art facility only 30 minutes east of Downtown Cleveland. The SPIRE facility will also serve as the site for the 2014 MAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship and 2015 MAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship. In addition, the MAC baseball tournaments in 2012-14 will be played at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio.
He joined the MAC after serving six years as commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). Prior to the OVC, Steinbrecher served as commissioner of the Mid-Continent Conference (the Summit League). He is the only person to serve as commissioner in all three NCAA Division I Subdivisions (FBS, FCS, DI).
In six years with the OVC, Steinbrecher significantly increased the league’s exposure through additional television coverage at the regional and national level. In 2005, he negotiated a five-year contract with ESPN that secured increased exposure for the league. That included being the first conference to sign a deal to have games appear on ESPNU, the OVC had the first sporting event telecast on that network (the 2005 OVC Men’s Basketball Tournament Semifinal).
Steinbrecher secured an invitation for the OVC to participate in ESPN’s BracketBusters event. He also implemented conference merchandising and corporate partner programs and in 2008 negotiated a five-year agreement with IMG College to manage the OVC’s multimedia rights and sponsorship sales.
In July 2006, Steinbrecher helped spearhead a venture into streaming video with the launch of OVCSports.TV. The multimedia platform provided live and on-demand coverage of every OVC football and men’s and women’s basketball games as well as selected other sports, coaches’ shows, press conferences and special events. In its first two years of existence, OVCSports.TV streamed over 800 events and recorded nearly 5,000 paid subscribers.
Under his leadership, the OVC re-emphasized its commitment to sportsmanship by implementing a series of good sports initiatives, including sportsmanship affidavits signed by coaches and administrators, student-athlete ethical conduct orientation and an institutional and team sportsmanship awards. Steinbrecher also initiated a Conference Basketball Issues Committee and oversaw increased promotional efforts for the OVC Basketball Tournament, which resulted in an increase in ticket sales revenue. He also spearheaded the efforts in bidding for, and ultimately securing, the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four for Nashville.
Prior to being named Mid-Continent Conference Commissioner in Nov. 1994, Dr. Steinbrecher had previously served the league as Director of Communications, Director of Marketing and Communications and Assistant Commissioner. He joined the Mid-Con staff in 1989 after previously serving in the athletics departments at Houston Baptist University, Indiana University and Davidson College.
Steinbrecher has served on a number of prominent NCAA committees, including the Division I Basketball Issues Committee, serving as a member of subcommittees for both men’s and women’s basketball, and in 1999 he became the first non-Division I-A commissioner elected as president of the Collegiate Commissioner’s Association (CCA). In June 2007, he was appointed to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Academic Enhancement Group by the late NCAA President Myles Brand. He has served on the NCAA Division I Legislative Council, the NCAA Championship Cabinet, the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Issues Committee.
Steinbrecher is currently a member of the NCAA Championships Cabinet, serves on the Board of Directors of NCAA Football, is Chair of the College Football Officiating Board of Managers and the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel. He is also the Chair of the National Letter of Intent Policy and Review Committee.
Steinbrecher has also served as Division I-AAA vice president of the CCA and as a member of the National Invitation Tournament’s District IV Advisory Board.
Steinbrecher is a 1983 graduate of Valparaiso University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and journalism. In 2006, he was bestowed an Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater. Steinbrecher graduated with a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1984, and he was awarded the doctorate of physical education in sports administration from Indiana University in 1989.
An all-conference and academic all-conference selection in football and a conference champion in tennis, Dr. Steinbrecher was named Valparaiso’s and the Heartland Collegiate Conference’s Student-Athlete of the Year in 1983. In 2006, he was inducted into the Watauga County (N.C.) Sports Hall of Fame.
Steinbrecher and his wife Anne have three children, daughter Grace and twin sons Matt and Will.
Steinbrecher follows Rick Chryst, who served as MAC Commissioner (1999-2009). David Reese served as the first commissioner from 1946-64, followed by Bob James (1964-71), Fred Jacoby (1971-82), Jim Lessig (1982-90), Karl Benson (1990-94), Jerry Ippoliti (1994-99).