Big 12 News

Brett Yormark: SEC-Big Ten Partnership ‘Overstated,’ Chemistry Among Conferences the ‘Best it’s Ever Been’

Jul 12, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the press during Big 12 football media day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When the SEC and the Big Ten announced a partnership earlier this year, many wondered if that would lead to the downfall of the Big 12 and the ACC.

It appeared to rear its ugly head when the leagues signed on with a new College Football Playoff deal that pays the two a substantially larger amount than what the other conferences are getting.

However, Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark suggested this week that the notion that the SEC and Big Ten are in an exclusive partnership and everyone else is on there is has been “overstated.”


In fact, Yormark said that the chemistry between the four Power conferences “is the best it’s ever been,” according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich.

“We spend a lot of time talking strategically about the direction of collegiate athletics and what’s in the best interest of everyone,” Yormark told ESPN. “Does the SEC and Big Ten break away from that from time to time and strategize together? I’m sure they do, but I will tell you the chemistry and culture amongst the four commissioners is extremely positive, and even though I’m relatively new in my job, I’d venture to say it’s the best it’s ever been.”

One of the biggest issues on the table right now is what the CFP will look like in 2026 and beyond. Expansion is likely, and while there’s momentum for a 14-team field, according to ESPN, the conference commissioners all agree that there will be at least 12 teams going forward.


“If we end up going to 14 and we can further enhance the championship experience for more teams and more student-athletes, that’s great,” Yormark said, “and I’m going to continue to bet on the Big 12 that we’re going to take some of those at-large spots. In theory, more is more. More is good, but the proof is in the details and I’m excited to see how this year plays out at 12.”

Yormark also pointed out that seeing the 12-team playoff in action will give everyone a chance to evaluate the new format’s pros and cons, and to him, that has value.

“It wouldn’t be a bad thing to just play it out this year, but I’m just one of many,” he said. “… We’ll collectively make that decision.”

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