Just a couple of months after Bob Bowlsby announced he is stepping down as the commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, the league’s board of directors named a new commissioner on Wednesday. The new commissioner will be Brett Yormark who was previously the COO of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Yormark was a surprising hire, and very few people are familiar with him. After the hire was made, I wanted to share my four thoughts on the Big 12’s newest commissioner.
1. This Hire Was Unconventional
By no means am I saying this was bad hire, but it certainly was one that came out of left field. Many people thought the Big 12 would go the safe route by hiring a former athletic director or someone who has worked in college athletics for decades. That didn’t happen as the conference decided to hire someone who hasn’t worked in college athletics at all. The Big 12 hired an outsider to be the next conference commissioner. The Pac-12 did the same thing when they hired George Kliavkoff and I already know that is doing a much better job than Larry Scott. Hopefully, Brett Yormark works out.
2. Who is Brett Yormark?
I am not going to lie, before he was hired, I had no clue who Brett Yormark even was. Brett was a longtime northeast sports executive who has spent the last few years being the COO of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Prior to his time with Roc Nation, Brett spent almost 15 years as the Brooklyn Nets CEO. He oversaw the franchise’s move from New Jersey to Brooklyn and played a significant role in the construction of the Barclays Center. Before that Yormark was with NASCAR overseeing the $750 million agreement with Nextel Communications for naming rights to the circuit’s top racing series.
Even current NBA commissioner Adam Silver had some thoughts on the Big 12’s newest commissioner saying “Brett is one of the most skilled and knowledgeable executives in sports and entertainment. His decades of operational experience, relentless work ethic and strong industry relationships will be of enormous value to the Big 12, its schools and fans.”
3. Changes Are Coming
There are big changes ahead in this conference. The two biggest brands, Texas and Oklahoma are off to the SEC in a few years and there will be a new tv deal sooner rather than later. That means Brett Yormark will be dealing with all of these things when he takes over. He is going to need to find ways to get these issues taken care of. Also, don’t forget that the conference is adding four new schools next season. There is so much to do in the next few years, and it is going to be interesting to see how Brett manages it.
4. Can Brett Yormark Get the Big 12 Ahead?
For years, the Big 12 Conference has been known to be more reactionary than revolutionary. It feels like the conference has been behind for a while now and I hope that changes with the hire of Brett Yormark. As I mentioned earlier, he has worked with rapper Jay-Z and maybe he will find some fun ways to do things. Whether it comes to scheduling games, events, or anything in-between. Also, I would like to see the conference get more creative from top to bottom. Figure out what the latest trends are and use social media to their advantage. The Big 12 will need those creative ideas to not only be trend setter but to also create a stable future that helps everyone make money.