Five Thoughts on Brett Yormark’s Big 12 Media Day Comments

Jul 9, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Big 12 Conference commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Days at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS — Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark spoke to the media at the start of Big 12 Football Media Days on Tuesday at Allegiant Stadium.

He spoke to the media for more than 30 minutes about the state of the conference and then spoke to reporters for five minutes in a walk-off interview.

Here are five thoughts on his comments on Tuesday.


‘All Eyes Are On The Big 12’

Ever since Oklahoma and Texas announced their move to the SEC three years ago, I’ve written on this site many times that the Big 12’s goal should be to be “No. 3.”

Well, Yormark believes the league is right where it needs to be, regardless of where you might rank it.

“All eyes are now on the Big 12 for all the right reasons, and I think it’s safe to say we’re more relevant now than ever before,” Yormark said.

Later, during a short walk-off with the media, he did say the goal is to be “No. 1.”

“Why would be doing what we’re doing if we don’t aspire to be No. 1?” Yormark said. “But we continue to get better, and I like where we’re going.”

I would define the tone of his voice in that moment as realistic. He knows it will be hard to catch the SEC and Big Ten in revenue. But it doesn’t appear to be stopping him from doing whatever he can so Big 12 programs can do what it can in order to catch those two conferences on the field, which is where it matters most.


The Deepest Conference

I’ve done some radio hits lately, and I’ve been asked about the depth of this conference from a football standpoint. I think this will be the most competitive race in college football among the Power Four conferences.

Yormark agreed and stressed that during his comments. He also believes they need to brand the league’s race in the final weeks.

“We will be the deepest conference in America,” Yormark said. “Every week will matter. I’m going to say that one more time. We will be the deepest conference in America, and every week will matter. We have star power and parity. We boast some of the top players and coaches in the game. November will be incredibly exciting, and we will brand it as a race to the championship.”

Brought to you by Totino’s. I’m just assuming.

Naming Rights and Private Equity

So, nothing is imminent on either front. I was not expecting there to be. I thought there might be a little more movement on the naming rights because that’s an easier thing to get done. Yormark is experienced at facilitating those deals from his time at NASCAR and in the NBA.

I was curious about what he’s looking for in a partner. So I asked him. And it’s not necessarily about the money, though certainly that helps.


“If someone is just coming in to leverage the brand power of the Big 12, that’s of no interest to us,” he said. “But if they can come in, assuming the economics are right, and they can provide value creation that we’re looking for, support our student-athletes, and elevate our narrative in all the right ways … then it becomes a very interesting opportunity.”

As for private equity, I don’t believe the league is anywhere close to making a decision. Yormark did say something that I think most believe — this is coming for college sports and it’s coming fast. But it’s a massive paradigm shift, and, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago when the news broke, it carries considerable risk for the Big 12 or any league that engages in it.

Yormark knows it. That’s why any agreement like this will take some time.

“We’re exploring what that might look like,” Yormark said. “And a structure and a model of what that looks like is going to be critically important so that we’re not compromising the long-term future of the conference.”

‘Necessary Reset’

One of Yormark’s most interesting comments came during a section in which he spoke about the changing landscape of college sports, most notably the House v. NCAA settlement, which is still pending judicial approval.

What you and I consider to be seismic change he sees as a “necessary reset.”

“We’re going through change, but I would rather call it a necessary reset,” he said. “In 10 years I think we look back at this period as a positive moment in collegiate athletics history. I live my life by the value equation. Those that create value deserve to be rewarded.”


There is a lot going on and none of it is settled, to be honest. The revenue sharing number could be $20 million or $22 million. He’s also in favor of letting each Big 12 team set their pace to reach that figure. TCU and Texas Tech are among the schools that have said they’ll share at the full amount, and it would make sense to have a conference standard.

I believe the league will eventually land at a conference standard for rev share. It makes sense to ensure competitiveness across the board and I think Yormark, at least privately, will push for it.

The Obligatory Expansion Comment

Yormark said the league is focused on what it has and not what it could collect in expansion. So folks can stop making expansion videos for now.

“But right now, we’re focused on 16,” Yormark said. “We’re focused on getting this right, and I’m really excited about our future as a 16-team league.”

There is no need for the Big 12 to push for expansion for now. Yormark and his group could certainly do their due diligence on the ACC, which is in quite a bit of turmoil at the moment. But until there is actual movement there (read: Florida State and Clemson) there isn’t much for the Big 12 to do except plan for contingencies.

By the way, Yormark doesn’t have a number in mind for potential expansion. As he likes to say, he’s looking for the right fit.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

Most Popular

To Top