Arlington, Texas (AP) — New Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yourmark is learning about the NCAA’s issues in real time and during a period of widespread change and uncertainty.
While Monday is Yourmark’s first day of working full-time from the Big 12 office, leaving Jay-Z’s Rock Nation behind, the ex-CEO of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets has been in constant conference affairs since landing his first job at College Athletics. are involved.
He was named the new leader of the Big 12 on 29 June. A day later, the reorganization of the convention again became a pressing issue when Southern California and UCLA said they would leave the Pac-12 in 2024 to join the Big Ten.
In addition, Yourmark will need to be familiar with name, image and likeness compensation for athletes, transfer portals, its own governance framework for football with FBS conferences potentially splitting from the NCAA, and the future of the college football playoffs.
“One of his best qualities is that he doesn’t pretend to know what he doesn’t know… he asks a lot of questions, and listens,” Baylor athletic director Mac Rhodes said of Yourmark. . “He hasn’t been in the industry, so he’s going to have to assimilate everything, which is difficult under normal circumstances. But then throw the top of that convention part away.”
When asked during his introduction to the Big 12 football media days in mid-July if there had been active talks with any Pac-12 schools, Yourmark stated that his league was “open for business” and that the future Was looking for all options – but didn’t give any specifics.
Pac-12 commissioner George Klivkopf expressed his dismay Friday, saying he spent the past month “trying to defend against grenades from every corner of the Big 12 trying to destabilize the rest of our conference.” He also stated that his league intends to keep its existing members and entertain newcomers.
The Big 12 is undergoing another change in membership, and its media rights deals with ESPN and Fox Sports expire after the 2024-25 academic year. While Oklahoma and Texas are set to move to the Southeastern Conference after the 2025 season, four new schools will join the Big 12 next summer.
Yourmark brings an outside perspective to what has been a flexible convention, as well as a background in brand building.
Before joining Rock Nation in 2019, where he was chief operating officer on the commercial side of the business, Yourmark spent nearly 15 years with the Nets, overseeing the club’s move from New Jersey and the construction of Barclays Center. He previously worked for NASCAR, where he signed a $750 million deal with Nextel Communications for the naming rights to the circuit’s top racing series.
Yourmark said he promised the Big 12 board of directors that he would ensure the league would be “courageous and humble, aggressive and thoughtful, and innovative and creative” in growing its brand and business and becoming a little more contemporary.
“One thing is very clear. There is no greater priority for the upcoming multimedia rights talks than to best place the Big 12,” said Yourmark. “Everything we do should create momentum for these negotiations, as well as build the value of the Big 12 brand and business.”
When the only football national champions of the Big 12 are gone, the league will have only half of its original 12 members. Nebraska moved to the Big Ten and Colorado moved to the Pac-12 in 2011. Texas A&M and Missouri joined the SEC the following season.
The Big 12 added TCU and West Virginia in 2012, the same year Bob Bowlesby became commissioner. The 70-year-old decided earlier this year that he was ready to step out of that role.
Within weeks of the Sooners and Longhorns receiving invitations from the SEC last summer, the Big 12 approved membership for football independent BYU and American Athletic Conference schools Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida.
Yourmark plans to tour all 14 campuses in the coming months, including four schools that will join next summer, as well as departures from Oklahoma and Texas.
“He’s the perfect guy for us right now,” said TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati. “He’s going to be aggressive, he’s going to be bold. He won’t apologize for that. … We just have to stand behind him and let him do his job and continue to put us in the best shape possible.”
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