Commissioner, Mountain West Conference
Craig Thompson is the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference (MWC) and a veteran collegiate sports administrator. During his career, Thompson has served as a member of NADCA’s Executive Committee and Director’s Cup Committee, as well as the governing NCAA Council and various Council subcommittees. He has also played a prominent role in hosting numerous men’s and women’s NCAA postseason basketball tournaments in St. Louis, Atlanta, New Orleans and Denver.
As commissioner, Thompson has been instrumental in negotiating nearly $230 million in television revenue and directing the league through expansion.
His leadership and vision also helped the conference enhance its television revenue and exposure through revolutionary agreements with CSTV and Comcast to become the first major collegiate athletic conference to launch a dedicated sports channel – the MountainWest Sports network “The Mtn.” – featuring 24-hour programming around its nine athletic programs.
Thompson has been instrumental in strengthening the position of the MWC in the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS) structure. Utah became the first team from a non-automatic-qualifying conference ever to play in and win a BCS game. Thompson also spearheaded an effort to provide better access into the BCS system and beginning with the 2006 season the MWC champion has now nearly tripled its opportunity to participate in a BCS bowl.
Prior to his current role, Thompson served as the commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference for nearly eight years and as the only commissioner of the American South Conference prior to the merger of the two leagues in 1991.
Thompson has served on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and was appointed chairman of the committee in July 1999. He is currently on the NCAA Football Board of Directors and a member of the BCS administration.
At the start of his career, he spent three years as director of public relations and promotions for the NBA’s Kansas City Kings. Immediately following graduation, Thompson spent two years as assistant sports information director at Kansas State University. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.