As the Big 12 braces for the loss of Oklahoma and Texas, commissioner Brett Yormark understandably reset the narrative at the conference football media days in Dallas on Wednesday.
“I feel like I’ve been talking about expansion for a year now. When I said we were open for business last year, I think people took that as, ‘My God, this guy is new and he wants to go and disrupt’ … I guess, in some respects.
“Open for business was that we were going to explore every and all possibility to grow revenue, to diversify our conference, and to do things that hadn’t been done before. We did a lot of that.”
The Big 12, which announced the conference championship game would remain on the Dallas Cowboys’ home turf of AT&T Stadium through 2030, welcomes four new programs beginning with the 2023 season. For this season only, the league has 14 teams, as Texas and Oklahoma prepare to jump to the Southeastern Conference next season.
“They have great identity. They’re national brands. They’re a big part of the history of this conference,” Yormark said. “But like I said last year, this conference is bigger than any two schools. We’re in a great place. There’s never been a better time than right now to be involved with this conference, and I’m excited about our future.”
Yormark commended FOX for partnering with the conference and advancing a vision and goal to reach “Gen Z” and “future college students” in a nod to the combination linear and digital media deal.
UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU bring a new look to the league — and expand the market reach of the conference — and make the Big 12 the only Power 5 league with teams in three time zones. Yormark said the ideal makeup of the Big 12 would be to stay at 14 teams even when the Sooners and Longhorns relocate.
“Relative to expansion, I said coming out of our spring business meetings at the Greenbrier that we have a plan, and we have a plan for expansion,” Yormark said, adding he wasn’t prepared to address it any further. “We do have a plan, and hopefully we can execute that plan sooner than later. But as I’ve always said, I love the composition of this conference right now. The excitement the four new members have brought to this conference has been incredible, and if we stay at 12 (teams), we’re perfectly fine with that.”
–Field Level Media