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BYU Coaches Gear Up For New-Look Big 12 Spring Meetings

Apr 29, 2024, 11:42 PM

Kalani Sitake, Kevin Young, BYU Cougars, Big 12...

BYU football coach Kalani Sitake and men's basketball head coach Kevin Young will be in attendance at the Big 12 Spring Meetings. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

(Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

What was once a foreign concept for BYU football coach Kalani Sitake is now part of his typical off-season routine. That’s conference meetings season.

It’s the third consecutive year Sitake has taken a seat at the spring retreat for Big 12 coaches from the league’s football and basketball programs.

While Sitake is becoming a veteran in Big 12 meetings, this week in Arizona will be a new world for first-year men’s basketball head coach Kevin Young.

A veteran NBA assistant for the past eight seasons, most recently as the lead assistant for the Phoenix Suns this past season, Young hasn’t been involved with college basketball since 2006. That was an assistant coach at Utah Valley. He was never tasked with sitting at spring head coach meetings in Orem.

Now, he will be involved in meetings for the nation’s toughest basketball conference in nine of the past 11 years. Young will sit alongside Bill Self (Kansas), Scott Drew (Baylor), and Kelvin Sampson (Houston), among others, discussing important topics for the Big 12’s coveted hoops product.

Four Corner schools join the Big 12 Coaches Meetings

BYU’s new head basketball coach won’t be the only new face at this year’s Big 12 meetings that begin on Tuesday. The league brings in the “Four Corner” programs from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah.

Going to Scottsdale for spring meetings isn’t a new concept for coaches from the four corners. But it’s a new league with a far different outlook.

Last year at these spring meetings, momentum was building for the Big 12 to land the four corner institutions, despite many scoffing at the idea anyone would join the Big 12.

Commissioner Brett Yormark surprised everyone and pulled it off, building his league to 16 members.

First, with Colorado setting things into motion. Then Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah followed suit after Oregon and Washington announced their intentions to join the Big Ten on reduced media rights shares.

Yormark has since said that adding the “Four Corners” programs was a “dream scenario” for the Big 12.

After seeing what happened to the Pac-12, it also ensured the Big 12’s survival.

The new additions mean that BYU and Utah coaches will be under the same league roof for the first time since being in the Mountain West together in 2010.

Kalani Sitake likes having the BYU/Utah rivalry in the same league again

Kalani Sitake was on Utah’s staff when the Utes transitioned from the Mountain West to the Pac-12. He worked for Kyle Whittingham as a position coach and then as a defensive coordinator. Now, the two will take part in league meetings together.

“You know how I feel about the program there and the fans. I have tons of respect for Utah,” said Sitake. “I just think that growing up and seeing this rivalry as a fan, then as a player, and then as a position coach or coordinator, and now as a head coach, it just makes sense to me.”

Sitake continued, “I know it gets heated and all of that stuff. And there’s a lot of competition. But there’s a lot of friendly interactions with both. There are a lot of guys in our program who know those guys, and when sad things happen, we always have each other’s backs. But it’s always good to compete and have that high level of respect. So we’re excited about getting them back on the schedule.”

BYU and Utah will renew their football rivalry on November 9 in Salt Lake City. The Big 12 “reimagined” its annual rivalries and spread them throughout the 2024 season.

Important topics for Big 12 coaches to discuss

When the coaches have their meetings, there are many topics to address. Perhaps none is more significant than the NCAA reportedly nearing a legal settlement that would lay out a potential revenue-sharing model with athletes in the highly-publicized antitrust class lawsuit House v. NCAA.

Name, Image, Likeness, and the Transfer Portal will likely be hot topics discussed among coaches.

For football, how to improve the on-field product in the 12-team Playoff era.

Moving forward into the new College Football Playoff structure, the CFP will distribute revenue unevenly throughout the conferences based on performance. The Big 12 is reportedly getting the lowest percentage of revenue in CFP money due to the lack of Playoff bids.

How can the league maximize its playoff opportunities to get not only one automatic bid into the field but also at-large spots?

It’s safe to say there’s a lot to discuss for the new-look 16-team Big 12, and BYU coaches are in the thick of those conversations.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Coaches Gear Up For New-Look Big 12 Spring Meetings