COLLEGE SPORTS

Big 12 Exit Meetings With ‘Value Creation,’ Not Expansion As Focus

May 31, 2024, 3:36 PM

Big 12, Brett Yormark, Conference Expansion...

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark continues to live by an "Open for business" mantra, it's just not in reference to expansion. (Courtesy of Liz Parke and the Big 12 Conference)

(Courtesy of Liz Parke and the Big 12 Conference)

IRVING, Texas – The Big 12 Conference completed year two with Brett Yormark as the Commissioner.

Year two under the former ROC Nation and NBA executive featured four new schools (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF).

The Big 12 experienced its ninth season out of the last eleven as the country’s number-one-rated basketball league.

Big 12 football had a relatively down year but produced a Playoff team. That Playoff team was Texas, an outgoing member who is set to leave for the SEC on July 1.

Brett Yormark wraps up year two as Big 12 Commissioner

No moves were bigger for Yormark in year two than landing the “Four Corner” schools (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah) from the Pac-12.

It’s been a busy second year for Yormark and the Big 12.

“We are thrilled about Brett’s leadership,” said Baylor President Linda Livingstone. “… Couldn’t say enough about the support we have for Brett and the work that he’s doing and our confidence in him leading the conference as we look to the future.”

Like everything with college athletics, the question for the 16-team Big 12 is, what’s next?

It’s as prominent a question as ever for a league that loses Texas and Oklahoma and lives in a space where the SEC and Big Ten are entering historic media rights that generate far more revenue than the Big 12.

 

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The Big 12 wrapped up the 2023-24 athletic year with its annual Spring Business Meetings during a rainy week in Dallas.

Presidents and Athletic Directors from the 16 universities were in attendance.

“I think the overarching theme for the week was all about creating value for our membership, just given where everyone’s going,” Yormark said.

“Value creation is the number one initiative and priority. And we spoke a lot about that over the last couple of days and myself and my staff, were able to have some meaningful conversations with our key stakeholders on some big ideas and some opportunities that we’re going to vet out in order to create that value.”

The historic House v. NCAA settlement, which Yormark heavily participated in, will likely significantly impact the Big 12’s value creation.

That landmark settlement ushers in the era of revenue sharing to college athletics as early as the fall of 2025.

“Open for business” doesn’t mean conference expansion for the Big 12

“Since I took this job, I said from day one, I was open for business. And I guess you could say we’re open for business now more so than ever before,” Yormark said on Friday.

When he was formally introduced at Big 12 football media day in 2022, Yormark made the “Open for business” remarks.

Back then, everyone read into that as conference expansion and an eye to members in the Pac-12.

He accomplished that by adding the “Four Corners.”

This time around, “Open for business” doesn’t reference expansion.

“No, I’m not,” Yormark said when asked if his league is actively exploring expansion. “Open for business is that we explore every opportunity to create value for our members and for our student-athletes. It’s what we’ve been doing since I onboarded, and we will continue to have that mindset.”

So, if you’re drawing up potential expansion scenarios from other leagues, those appear to be shelved at the moment as Yormark turns to year three and the first with a 16-team edition of the Big 12.

“I’m excited to be here. I’ve said it before best job of my life,” said Yormark. “A lot of moving parts, it’s moving fast. I do think speed matters and my board is giving me the opportunity to move quickly where needed.”

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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Big 12 Exit Meetings With ‘Value Creation,’ Not Expansion As Focus