ARLINGTON, Texas — In the midst of drastic changes to the college football landscape, new Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark announced the conference is "open for business" and "exploring every option" regarding realignment.
Yormark was formally introduced as the conference's commissioner during the first hour of Big 12 Media Days. During that time, he outlined his vision for the conference's future.
"We have a chance to build our brand, our business, nationalize our conference in a way that hasn't been done before, and I'm excited to go to work and start that process," he said.
The Big 12 named Yormark as the conference's new commissioner in June, replacing long-time commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Bowlsby held the position for 10 years before announcing his retirement earlier this year.
Just one day after the conference announced Yormark's new role, USC and UCLA revealed their plan to join the Big 10 in 2024. The move sent shock waves throughout college football.
Yormark said he received the news with mixed emotions: nerves about the uncertain climate he is stepping into and excitement about the opportunity the move presented for his conference.
"We have an opportunity to grow and build the Big 12 brand and business, be aspirational, define our point of difference, all while never losing our commitment to always compete and develop our student-athletes at the highest levels," he said.
Yormark addressed the issue of realignment during his opening press conference.
"I've been actively engaged in realignment and appreciate the incredible input I have received from everyone throughout the conference," he said. "Exploration and optionality is at the forefront of what we are focused on."
Yormark would not address whether the conference has already reached out to additional programs, but he did say, "anything considered must be additive and not dilutive."
The Big 12 is set to add four teams (UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU) in 2023 with Texas and Oklahoma still set to leave the conference in 2025. The conference's media rights agreement will expire in 2025 as well.
“One thing is crystal clear: there is no higher priority than to best position the Big 12 for its upcoming multimedia rights negotiations,” Yormark said. “Everything we do must create momentum for these negotiations, as well as build the value for the Big 12 brand and business.”
Yormark has a history of media rights negotiations. During his time with NASCAR, he helped negotiate a record-setting naming rights deal with Nextel. In the years since, he helped rebuild the Brooklyn Nets brand and facilitated their move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
"We will leave no stone unturned to drive value for the conference," he said. "Just as I pledged to the board, we will be bold and humble, aggressive and thoughtful, and innovative and creative, all in an effort to position the conference in a way that not only grows the Big 12 brand and business but makes us a bit more contemporary."
Yormark's first day as acting commissioner is August 1.