COUGAR TRACKS

BYU Gets Look At Big 12’s ‘Information Sharing Process’ In Meetings

Jun 1, 2022, 5:26 PM
Big 12 Conference Championship...
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 4: The Big 12 logo is seen on a pylon before the game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Baylor Bears in the Big 12 Football Championship at AT&T Stadium on December 4, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. Baylor won 21-16.(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

IRVING, Texas – BYU athletics took a seat for the first time at the annual Big 12 spring meetings.

Since BYU’s invitation to the Big 12 Conference last September, they’ve participated in various league gatherings. Including last month’s Fiesta Frolic down in Scottsdale, which also included coaches from the athletic teams.

This week, business is at the forefront of the mind for Big 12 members.

Along with UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston, BYU is an “observer” in this year’s Big 12 meetings at the Four Seasons. It’s a chance for individuals such as BYU AD Tom Holmoe and SWA (Senior Woman Administrator) Liz Darger to see up the exchange of ideas and info among its future league members. BYU President Kevin J. Worthen is also expected to be at the meetings for tomorrow’s gathering with the Big 12 Board of Directors.

“We just think it’s a good way to get acquainted and to have them start understanding what our issues are,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to KSL Sports. “Of course, in a lot of cases, they know what the issues are; they just don’t know exactly how we’re dealing with them. So it’s just an information-sharing process as much as anything.”

BYU takes in the Big 12 culture

The issues are wide-ranging, including NIL, Transfer Portal, scheduling for all 22 of the Big 12 sports, and even implementing a new drug policy for the conference.

BYU will become an official member of the Big 12 beginning July 1, 2023. However, the three institutions from the American Athletic Conference (UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston) are still working out the logistics of an early exit from their current league.

West Virginia AD Shane Lyons told reporters on Wednesday that the newcomers are “close to the finish line” and are “pretty confident” they will all join on July 1, 2023.

The four newcomers will be a big piece of the new Big 12 moving forward. These meetings give the new institutions a chance to share their insights with their future colleagues.

“We want them to start to understand the culture in the Big 12 and get acclimated to how we do business and to, you know, be a part of policies that are likely going to bear on them going forward,” said Bowlsby about the four new institutions. “So, once we know exactly when they’re coming in, we’ll probably continue to expand that access as we ramp up to their starting date.”

Big 12 meetings give newcomers a chance to have a voice at the table

Existing members, such as West Virginia, who are entering their 10th year in the Big 12, know what it is like to once be the new face in the room. So they’ve welcomed the input from the league’s newcomers.

“They are the new members coming in, so it’s a little bit of ‘hey, I’m not going to say a whole lot. I’m just going to sit back and watch,'” Lyons said. “But at the same time, I think there have been times when we’ve turned to them and said, ‘What do you all think as we move forward? Especially with scheduling and what this is going to look like in the future and how it’s going to impact you all.’ That’s the purpose of them being here.

“We don’t want to make decisions that are going to impact them in a year from now that they’ve never really had a voice at the table.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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