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Big 12 Commissioner Addresses Pursuit Of Pac-12 Teams In Realignment

Jul 13, 2022, 9:18 AM
Big 12 Conference, Realignment...
The Big 12 Conference is led by Brett Yormark, who made it clear that whether its conference realignment or any other BIg 12 item, the league is "open for business." (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Big 12 is not sitting back when it comes to conference realignment. That message was even more evident by new Commissioner Brett Yormark.

Yormark was officially introduced to the Big 12 Conference on Wednesday to open up Big 12 Football Media Days. The two-day event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is occurring amid many realignment rumors.

Big 12 realignment is “open for business”

After reading a six-minute, 30-second prepared statement, Yormark’s first question from the assembled media was regarding the reported pursuit of the four Pac-12 teams in Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado.

“We are exploring all options and we’re open for business, and optionality is good, and we’re vetting through all of them,” said Yormark. “I think it’s fair to say I’ve received a lot of phone calls; a lot of interest. People understand the direction of the Big 12 and we’re exploring those levels of interest. Nothing is imminent, but we’re working hard to ensure that we position the Big 12 in the best possible way on a go-forward basis.”

Along with being open for business in realignment, Yormark said the league was open for business regarding everything they do. But realignment could definitely be an opportunity to strengthen the conference as potentially the third-best league behind the SEC and Big Ten.

Reaction to USC and UCLA going to the Big Ten

Yormark, who was with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation as the COO, and before that with NASCAR and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, was announced as the Big 12 Commissioner on June 29. One day later, USC and UCLA moved to the Big Ten, sending another seismic shift in the college space.

How did Yormark respond?

“I was excited by it in many respects because I saw there was opportunity,” Yormark said. “And I figured I’d be thrown into it a little sooner than I thought. As Linda (Livingstone) said, I’ve been working very close with Bob and others on defining our path forward. So I do look at it as an opportunity.”

Yormark doesn’t officially take over in his role as Commissioner of the Big 12 until August 1. Outgoing Commissioner Bob Bowlsby is closing out his final weeks on the job, but he noted, “you’ll probably see me around a little bit.”

Bowlsby immediately acted last year after the bombshell of Texas and Oklahoma going to the SEC just eight days after last year’s Big 12 Media Days. After that shock, Bowlsby acted quickly to bring on BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF as members. The four newcomers will officially join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023. If there’s anyone that has experienced his fair share of realignment, it’s Bowlsby.

Yormark thanked Bowlsby for his work in the Big 12 and added, “You will be an incredible resource for me.”

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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