What We Learned From Brett Yormark At Big 12 Media Days

Jul 13, 2023, 12:10 AM | Updated: 2:15 am

ARLINGTON, Texas – Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark carries a presence when he speaks.

He took center stage right above the star at AT&T Stadium during Big 12 Media Days to address the media with a State of the Conference address.

Last year at this event, Yormark made his introduction to Big 12 media. But it was still Bob Bowlsby presiding over the conference. After a year of guiding the league, Yormark has settled in and has the once-beleaguered league feeling that they are in a position of strength.

During the presentation that featured PowerPoint slides above him, Yormark painted a bold vision for this conference and celebrated the successes away from the field during his first year as commissioner.

Here are some of the key things we learned from Yormark as he gears up for his second year in the league.

Brett Yormark talks Conference Expansion

Last month Yormark told reporters that the Big 12 had “a plan” on how to attack conference expansion. What’s the latest?

He told reporters after he left the podium that he didn’t have a specific timeline for when he wanted to execute the expansion plan. But he emphasized that he is more than happy to move forward with the current 12 members in the league.

“But as I’ve always said, I love the composition of this conference right now,” Yormark said. “The excitement the four new members have brought to this conference has been incredible, and if we stay at 12, we’re perfectly fine with that.”

Yormark continued, “If the opportunity presents itself where there’s something that creates value and aligns well with our goals and objectives, starting with the board, then we’re certainly going to pursue it.”

He was also asked about the feedback he’s received from board members in his conference about the possibility of adding a non-Power Five team such as UConn.

“As it relates to a school that’s a non-Power Five, if they create value and they align well with our goals and objectives, it’s a conversation we’ll consider having.”

The talk on expansion definitely wasn’t a top priority for Yormark as he instead focused on the current composition of his league.

Four newcomers bring in a year of “celebration”

The additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston were a big talking point during the first day of the Big 12’s media event.

For Brett Yormark, this one year of being a 14-team league is a year to celebrate. With 700 credentialed media at the event, there are definitely a lot of eyes on this new edition of the Big 12.

“I’m really excited about this season. In fact, I think it’s going to be a year of celebration. We’re going to celebrate our continuing eight. We’re going to celebrate our new four. And in fact, we’re going to celebrate Texas and Oklahoma and all the contributions they’ve made to this conference since day one because they’ll always be a big part of this conference.

“For me, it’s really a year of celebration, and we’re very excited about it.”

Bob Bowlsby Award

The Big 12 Conference created the Bob Bowlsby Award in honor of the former Commissioner. Bowlsby helped saved the Big 12 and restabilized the league adding BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston after Texas and Oklahoma declared they were leaving for the SEC.

In honor of Bowlsby, Yormark is creating an award named after him and it will serve as the Conference’s highest honor, presented to the male and female student-athlete that best represents the characteristics of leadership and excellence on and off the field.

TCU’s Max Duggan won the recognition for men in 2022.

Doubling-Down on Championship Sites

Yormark made it clear that he wants to “double-down” on the locations that host Big 12 championships. He announced an extension with AT&T Stadium for the Big 12 football championship game through the 2030 season.

When asked about Kansas City for the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, he acknowledged that he didn’t know much about the city prior to the basketball season last year. But after last season’s tournament, he said he does want to “double-down” with Kansas City as the host of the future.

Highlighting the year that was off the field

During Yormark’s State of the Conference address, he had a slide that featured 12 bullet points of what the league has accomplished since he stepped into the Commissioner chair.

Those bullets were:

It’s been a busy first year for Brett Yormark. We shall see what he is able to accomplish in his second year.

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 in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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What We Learned From Brett Yormark At Big 12 Media Days