ARLINGTON, Texas — New Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark declared Wednesday the league “open for business,” saying that while nothing is imminent all options will be considered as he takes over with conference realignment again shaking college sports.
Yormark made his introductory marks at the start of the league’s football media days at AT&T Stadium. He was named Bob Bowlsby’s successor two weeks ago. The very next day, it was announced Southern California and UCLA would be leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten in 2024.
“We are exploring all options and we are open for business,” Yormark said.
The former Roc Nation executive and CEO of the Brooklyn Nets officially begins work Aug. 1, but he has already been busy with Big 12 business.
“What excites me most about joining the Big 12 is the transformative moment in front of all of us today,” he said. “We have an opportunity to grow and then build the Big 12 brand and business. ... Moments like these do not happen often, and we must seize them and make the most of them.”
Along with realignment, Yormark emphasized adding revenue streams and the opportunity to nationalize the Big 12 brand, be more aspirational and appeal to youth culture “to get younger and hipper.”
He also mentioned “seeing the true professionalization of college sports” at a time when name, image and likeness compensation is going into its second year.
The Big Ten’s move West was another seismic shift in conference realignment, much like when it was revealed a week after Big 12 media days last summer that Texas and Oklahoma were moving to the Southeastern Conference no later than the 2025 season.
The Big 12 is going into its 12th and final season as a 10-school league. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF all join the league next summer after being approved for membership last September.
The pending departures of two of the Pac-12’s biggest brands came as a huge surprise, just like a year ago with the Big 12’s only national champions in football.
Yormark said the possible addition of teams to the Big 12 wouldn’t necessarily have an impact on any decision involving the Longhorns or Sooners leaving before the expiration of the league’s media rights deal that has three more football seasons.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a moment in time where we’re going to sit down, discuss the future,” Yormark said about Texas and Oklahoma. “But any situation like this, I always look for a win-win scenario. That being said, it’s important that whatever happens is in the best interest of this conference.”
This is will be Yormark’s first job in college athletics.
The 55-year-old was an executive on the commercial side of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation after previously working with the Nets and running Barclay Center, their home arena, for more than a decade.