Brett Yormark, the incoming commissioner of the Big 12, was introduced as the conference’s fifth commissioner during media day on Wednesday morning.
And he wasted no time letting the college sports world know one thing: “There is no doubt the Big 12 is open for business.”
On the heels of USC and UCLA’s decision to join the Big Ten, Yormark highlighted his vision for the Big 12 that includes the league eyeing additional expansion. Texas and Oklahoma are departing the conference, and it was announced in 2021 that BYU, Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston would join the Big 12.
Various reports have indicated that the Big 12 in recent weeks has talked with Pac-12 schools Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado and Utah about them joining.
In his first media session, Yormark was clear he’d be aggressive in building the Big 12’s value
“Conference composition is once again at the forefront of college athletics,” Yormark said in his opening remarks. “As such, I have been very involved with the stakeholders both inside and outside the Big 12 regarding our path forward and opportunities to grow both the Big 12 brand and business.”
Yormark emphasized that the Big 12 will not add schools without them helping the league’s brand and value.
“Exploration and optionality is at the forefront of what we are focused on,” Yormark said. “Anything considered must be additive and not dilutive.”
When asked about the possibility of Pac-12 schools joining the Big 12 conference, Yormark did not share specifics of the conversations occurring. But he said there’s interest out there about potentially joining the Big 12.
“It’s fair to say I’ve received a lot of phone calls, a lot of interest,” Yormark said. “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 make sure that we position the Big 12 in the best possible way on a go-forward basis.”
Outside of realignment, Yormark expressed his desire to make the Big 12 brand more national, and that he wanted to position that brand with a younger audience by “diversifying some of the things” the Big 12 does.
Yormark joined the Big 12 in late June after a few years as the chief operating officer and co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified. Prior to holding that position, he worked with the New Jersey Nets before spending 14 years as the CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.
He takes over on Aug. 1 as the Big 12 conference’s fifth commissioner. Yormark succeeds Bowlsby, who announced in April that he was stepping away from the position after a decade with the conference.