BYU Coach Kalani Sitake Weighs In On Potential Big 12 Expansion

Apr 13, 2023, 2:01 PM

Big 12 Expansion, BYU, Kalani Sitake...

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake shared his thoughts on potential Big 12 expansion. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Until the Pac-12 announces a media rights deal, potential Big 12 expansion will remain a hot topic.

Instead of wanting to earn a spot at the realignment table, BYU is in a different role this time—an observer.

BYU knows they are in the Big 12 Conference beginning on July 1, 2023. They will join the Power Five league with Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.

These current realignment conversations are a far different cry from the decade of pouring over every internet rumor and wondering what it means for BYU’s future as an Independent.

Through this phase of realignment, some fan bases are learning the harsh social media realities that BYU fans know all too well. That being putting any stock into West Virginia realignment truthers or believing accounts called “TuxedoYoda.”

The realignment game is a wild one.

Big 12 expansion rumors continue to fly

Realignment rumors on social media created a unique chapter this week. Colorado AD Rick George on Wednesday night, responding to a rumor from one of the anonymous West Virginia realignment accounts.

So again, it’s strange to see BYU in a spot where they are comfortable with whatever happens in realignment.

BYU coach Kalani Sitake shares in the comfort. When asked by KSL Sports what he thinks of potential Big 12 expansion or if he would like to one day see rival Utah in BYU’s new league home, the eighth-year head coach responded with full support for the conference.

“I’m going to do whatever the Big 12 wants to do. I’ve been really impressed with them,” said Sitake. “I’ve had opportunities to meet a lot of people. I met with the [Big 12] Vice President. It was really cool to have [V.P.] Scott Draper and I be able to sit down and talk about a lot of different things. I enjoyed that opportunity to know more about the conference and their expectations. I’m excited about the direction they’re headed.”

A diplomatic approach from Kalani Sitake on a hot topic that has everyone wondering when this ongoing saga between the Pac-12 and Big 12 will have a resolution.

What’s next in realignment?

It will be interesting to see if there is any movement in the coming week. Last month, Arizona President Robert Robbins told CBS Sports that April 15 was a potential deadline that would “work for him.”

So far, no announcement from the Pac-12 regarding a new media rights package has been made. Multiple reports have indicated they aren’t expected to announce anything until late spring or early summer.

New York Post media columnist Andrew Marchand reported recently to “watch Colorado” as a potential Pac-12 team to go to the Big 12.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, who remains in his first year on the job, has stayed consistent that he wants the league to enter the fourth time zone. Yormark wants to make the Big 12 a national league. At the same time, attracting a younger, hipper demographic to the conference.

Sitake: “Whatever the Big 12 wants to do, I’m behind 100%”

Regardless if Yormark can poach a Pac-12 school or not, count Sitake as being impressed with BYU’s new league home.

“I really like the leadership that we’re seeing from all angles, and I’ve enjoyed being a partner of the Big 12,” added Sitake. “Then, getting to know a lot of the coaches and the teams that we will compete against. Whatever the Big 12 wants to do, I’m behind 100%.”

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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Coach Kalani Sitake Weighs In On Potential Big 12 Expansion