Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark attended Saturday night’s BYU-Baylor football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, delivering on a promise he made at the conference’s media days in July that he would visit all the schools in the league this fall.
Yormark arrived at the Provo airport a few hours before kickoff and appeared on the BYUtv pregame show. Baylor president Linda Livingstone also made the trip and appeared on the show.
Among other things, Yormark said league officials are currently working on the 2023 schedule — the first year in the league for BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and Central Florida — and noted that BYU fans are going to love it.
“It is a world class institution. Great academics, great athletics. It was the right time of the conference and obviously the right time for BYU, and we are thrilled, not only for BYU, but for all the additional schools that are calling the Big 12 home starting next July.” — Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark.
Yormark also told the BYUtv hosts that he is impressed by BYU.
“It is a world class institution. Great academics, great athletics. It was the right time of the conference and obviously the right time for BYU, and we are thrilled, not only for BYU, but for all the additional schools that are calling the Big 12 home starting next July,” Yormark said.
Of course, the commissioner can’t go anywhere without being asked about the Big 12’s future plans. Do they include expansion, and if so, where?
Yormark reiterated what he’s said most of the last two months, ever since he uttered “the Big 12 is open for business” at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, in July.
“At the end of the day, we have got to do what is in the best interest of this conference, and we have to explore any and all possibilities and I am doing that, and my team is doing that,” he said. “If we expand, we expand, but if we don’t, that’s OK.”
Yormark said that as is, the Big 12 is a solid Power Five conference with plenty of outstanding programs across an array of sports.
“We have got a great collection of member institutions that are like-minded. I think we have, from top to bottom, some of the premier brands in the country,” he said. “So whatever we do has to be additive. It has got to be the right fit. We will see what happens.”
Thursday, Yormark told ESPN that league leaders will explore every option, including standing pat. That came a day after he said the Big 12 would consider “going out west” for more teams.
“I lover out conference,” he told ESPN. “I’ve said this before: I think we’re very aligned. That was reaffirmed on this recent campus tour. I’ve got a couple more schools I need to visit, but the energy, the enthusiasm, the like-mindedness, it has been fantastic.”
The Big 12 will add the four new schools on July 1, 2023. The SEC will welcome current Big 12 members Texas and Oklahoma on July 1, 2025. However, some industry insiders believe that transition could take place sooner.