Oct 19, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; A general view of the Pac-12 conference logo on the field prior to the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Big 12 interested in adding at least four Pac-12 programs

Big 12 conference officials have their eyes on adding at least four Pac-12 programs, days after the defection of Southern California and UCLA to the Big Ten left the Pac-12 reeling, CBS Sports reported Tuesday.

The Big 12 is targeting Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah, per the report. The four programs could be natural fits as the Big 12 expands into the Mountain time zone with the already announced addition of BYU.

Oregon and Washington also could be targeted by the Big 12, and a merger of the two conferences also is a “possibility,” CBS Sports reported. At the same time, legislation is being discussed in both states that would require the Division I public universities to hold membership in the same conference, meaning leagues that want Washington and Oregon could be required to accept Washington State and Oregon State, too.

One thing is certain: College sports, driven by college football, are in flux. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that since late last week, 10 programs have contacted the Big Ten about potential membership.

Money is driving the shifts. According to the WSJ, the Big Ten distributed to its members $54.3 million in fiscal year 2020, compared to the average of $33.6 million received by Pac-12 schools that year.

Meanwhile, the Pac-12’s leadership group on Tuesday gave commissioner George Kliavkoff the go-ahead to begin negotiations on a new television contract to replace the current pact that expires in 2024.

It could be a hard sell for Kliavkoff, given he doesn’t know what teams will be in the league in 2024 — or whether the Pac-12 will have been forced to merge with another conference — and because of the lack of Los Angeles-based schools.

–Field Level Media

Mar 13, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Big 12 logo at center court prior to the TCU Horned Frogs and the Oklahoma State Cowboys game of the first round of the Big 12 conference tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 name Brett Yormark as new commissioner

The Big 12 Conference officially introduced Brett Yormark as its new commissioner on Wednesday.

Yormark, 55, joins the Big 12 after serving as the chief operating officer at Roc Nation.

He succeeds Bob Bowlsby, who stepped down in April after leading the league for a decade.

“I’m here to listen, learn, find ways to add value, add resources and try to help shine a light on the importance of college athletics,” Yormark said. “I look forward to leveraging my experience and network alongside our presidents, chancellors and athletic directors to shape the future of the Big 12 brand and emphasize our collective strengths.”

A graduate of Indiana University, Yormark began his sports career working in the New Jersey Nets’ ticket office. He climbed the ladder to the top, serving as CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center from 2005-19.

“Brett is one of the most skilled and knowledgeable executives in sports and entertainment,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “His decades of operational experience, relentless work ethic and strong industry relationships will be of enormous value to the Big 12, its schools and fans.”

Yormark was promoted to COO of Jay Z’s Roc Nation agency in January after previously working as co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified.

The Big 12 is a league in transition, with Texas and Oklahoma announcing last year that they are moving to the Southeastern Conference when their Big 12 rights expire in 2025. Bowlsby helped to usher in the additions of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, who will join in the summer of 2023.

Yormark agreed to an initial contract term of five years and his official start date is expected to be Aug. 1.

“In Brett Yormark, we have chosen a highly adaptable leader who thrives in dynamic times. The landscape of college athletics is evolving to look more like the world Brett has been leading,” said Lawrence Schovanec, president of Texas Tech University and Chair of the Big 12 board of directors. “He’s authentic and genuine in the way he builds relationships and partnerships, and he works relentlessly to deliver impact.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; A general view of the Big 12 Conference logo on the field after the game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Oklahoma Sooners at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Big 12 eyes Brett Yormark as next commissioner

The Big 12 is targeting Roc Nation chief operating officer Brett Yormark as its next commissioner, multiple outlets reported.

Yormark, 55, would replace Bob Bowlsby, who announced in April that he was stepping down after a decade as commissioner.

Yormark was promoted to COO of Jay Z’s Roc Nation agency in January after previously working as co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified.

Although he has little experience in collegiate sports, Yormark spent 15 years at Barclays Sports and Entertainment and was the CEO there before joining Roc Nation in 2019.

The Big 12 is a league in transition, with Texas and Oklahoma announcing last year that they are moving to the Southeastern Conference when their Big 12 rights expire in 2025. Bowlsby helped to usher in the additions of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, who will join no later than 2024-25.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2021; Logan, Utah, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Baylor Romney (16) throws the ball while Utah State Aggies safety Monte' McGary (26) and Utah State Aggies defensive tackle Marcus Moore (95) pursue during the second quarter at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

BYU voids four games against in-state rival Utah State

BYU is suspending its series against in-state program Utah State after this season’s matchup due to its impending entrance into the Big 12.

The Cougars voided road games in 2023 and 2025 at Logan, Utah, and home games in 2024 and 2026 against the Aggies, a program they have played 90 times, beginning in 1922. The teams play this season on Sept. 29 in Provo.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said the move was necessary due to entering the Big 12 for the 2023 season. The Cougars had been an independent since 2011.

“As we prepare to enter Big 12 membership, we’ve had to make many adjustments to nonconference games on our future schedules,” Holmoe said in a statement. “We are grateful to Utah State for being a willing partner in scheduling games throughout the years, especially the last decade as we’ve navigated independence.

“While we don’t have the Aggies scheduled beyond 2022 at this point, we will continue to work together to play this in-state game again in the future.”

Utah State athletic director John Hartwell said his school will attempt to continue playing the Cougars in the future.

“Utah State and BYU have a long-standing history of annual competition on the football field and our goal is to continue the rivalry,” Hartwell said in a statement. “While we are disappointed to see the series go away for now, we are committed to working with BYU to find scheduling opportunities in the future.”

BYU holds a 50-37-3 series lead and has won four of the past six meetings. The Cougars beat the Aggies 34-20 in Logan last season.

Both programs finished in the final AP Top 25 poll last season. BYU (10-3) was No. 19 while Utah State (11-3) was No. 24 after matching the school record for victories.

–Field Level Media

Mar 12, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announces to media that Big 12 Tournament games are canceled at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby to step down later this year

Bob Bowlsby plans to step down as commissioner of the Big 12 Conference later this year, the league announced Tuesday.

Bowlsby, 70, has served as commissioner since 2012. He is the longest-tenured commissioner of a Power Five conference, a distinction that will go to the SEC’s Greg Sankey after Bowlsby departs.

Bowlsby will remain in the position until a replacement is appointed, at which point Bowlsby will take on a new, interim role within the Big 12.

“After more than 40 years of serving in leadership roles in intercollegiate athletics, including the last 10 with the Big 12, and given the major issues that college sports in general and the Big 12 specifically will address in the next several years, I have reached a natural transition point in my tenure as Commissioner, as well as in my career,” Bowlsby said in a news release Tuesday.

His announcement comes one day after Kansas became the second straight Big 12 program to win an NCAA championship in men’s basketball. The Jayhawks beat North Carolina 72-69 Monday night, one year after Baylor defeated Gonzaga in the title game.

Under Bowlsby’s term, Texas and Oklahoma made the decision to jump from the Big 12 to the SEC, leading the conference to accept four new programs from the mid-major ranks: BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. The four new member institutions will join no later than the 2024-25 school year.

The conference’s news release said it is engaging a search firm to consult it in a national search process for the next commissioner, a process that will begin in the coming weeks.

Before coming to the Big 12, Bowlsby was the athletic director at Stanford (2006-12) and Iowa (1990-2006).

–Field Level Media

Aug 31, 2019; Waco, TX, USA; A view of the Baylor Bears logo and the Big 12 conference logo on an end zone pylon during the game between the Baylor Bears and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 officially accepts BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, UCF

The Big 12 unanimously approved the addition of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF in a vote of conference presidents and chancellors on Friday.

The vote involved eight of the 10 schools currently in the conference. Texas and Oklahoma, which have been accepted to join the Southeastern Conference by July 1, 2025, did not participate.

Each school is expected to formally vote to accept the offer later Friday.

BYU already issued a statement saying it would join the Big 12 in the 2023-24 season. University president Kevin J. Worthen called Friday “a historic day for BYU Athletics — and for the entire university,” and he said joining the Big 12 will allow student-athletes “to compete at the highest level.”

Representatives from existing Big 12-member schools were quick to welcome the new schools into the fold.

“The Big 12 Conference has been among the best football leagues in the country for the past 25 years,” Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy said. “The addition of these four programs will allow us to introduce our brand of football to fans in new locations. I welcome the new conference members and look forward to competing against them while maintaining competition with our longstanding league members. We have the best of both worlds.”

While BYU is leaving the West Coast Conference — the Cougars are an independent in football — the American Athletic Conference will have three fewer members. Cincinnati, Houston and UCF are the top football schools in the conference.

Under AAC bylaws, the schools must give a 27-month notice and pay a $10 million buyout. If they are to join BYU in the conference in 2023, the schools and the league will have to negotiate.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco issued a statement Friday that said it was logical the Big 12 would want to snap up Cincinnati, Houston and UCF and vowed the move won’t diminish his conference.

“Today’s news confirms what we have said all along regarding our status as a power conference. The irony that three of our schools are being asked to take the place of the two marquee schools which are leaving the Big 12 is not lost on us,” he said. “Our conference was targeted for exceeding expectations in a system that wasn’t designed to accommodate our success.”

He continued: “Our remaining schools are unwavering in their commitment to competing and succeeding at the highest level and we will not allow external factors to put a ceiling on our potential. We remain unified and resolute and will consider all of our options as we move The American into our second decade and beyond.”

The departure of the three schools will leave the AAC with eight full members. The Big 12 could, for a time, have 14 members if all four additions come on board before Oklahoma and Texas shift to the SEC.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) throws a pass against the UCF Knights during the second half at the Bounce House. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Big 12 on track to approve 4 new members next week

Brigham Young, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston are on track to accept invitations to the Big 12 as soon as Sept. 10, Sports Illustrated reported Friday.

Multiple news outlets in Houston first reported that the four universities were scheduled to take part in a call with the league Monday to discuss expansion plans.

The Big 12 is solidifying its future in the wake of Oklahoma’s and Texas’ decision this summer to accept invitations to the SEC, beginning in 2025.

Houston has a history with Big 12 members Baylor, Texas Christian and Texas Tech in the old Southwestern Conference, which ceased to exist in 1996 when the Big 12 formed. Houston, UCF and Cincinnati have reached New Year’s Six bowl games in football, while BYU finished No. 11 in the final 2020 Associated Press poll.

Adding four athletic programs while losing two would bring the Big 12 back to 12 member institutions. However, reports said the schools could join the Big 12 as early as 2023, which may lead to a 14-team league for a few seasons before the Sooners and Longhorns depart.

In order to leave their current conference, the American Athletic Conference, the trio of UCF, Cincinnati and Houston must give 27 months’ notice. BYU, however, is a football independent and may be able to join the Big 12 sooner. The Cougars play in the West Coast Conference for all other sports.

Reports late Thursday said that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was visiting Houston’s campus.

–Field Level Media

Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA;  Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Big 12 eyes BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston

The leading candidates under consideration to join the Big 12 are BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston, The Athletic reported Thursday.

The conference created a committee last month to study expansion following the pending departures of Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference.

BYU, which competes as an independent as a football, was previously identified by The Athletic as a candidate. The Cougars play their other sports in the West Coast Conference but could potentially be brought into the Big 12 as a football-only member, per the report.

UCF, Cincinnati and Houston are members of the American Athletic Conference. The league requires 27 months of notice and a $10 million penalty for departing members. In 2019, the AAC allowed UConn to leave with only 12 months’ notice in exchange for a $17 million exit fee.

The Big 12’s remaining athletic directors met with league commissioner Bob Bowlsby in Dallas earlier this week.

“The eight ADs remain committed to furthering the Big 12 as one of the nation’s premier athletic conferences, and look forward to working with our presidents and chancellors to strengthen the league,” Bowlsby said in a statement on Wednesday. “Future exploration by the group will continue to center on options that best position the long-term strength of the Conference.”

The SEC has granted membership to Texas and Oklahoma in all sports starting with the 2025-26 academic year.

–Field Level Media

Dec 7, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooner quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) scrambles in front of the Big 12 logo during the second half against the Baylor Bears in the 2019 Big 12 Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 adds subcommittee to study conference expansion

A four-person subcommittee has been formed to examine expansion of the Big 12 following the pending departure of Oklahoma and Texas for the Southeastern Conference.

The subcommittee is made up of Kirby Hocutt, athletic director at Texas Tech, as well as Iowa State president Wendy Wintersteen, Kansas chancellor Doug Girod and Baylor AD Mack Rhoades.

Former West Virginia athletic director, NCAA executive and XFL commissioner Oliver Luck is working in an advisory role.

Hocutt told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the committee would meet virtually with Big 12 presidents on Friday. In-person meetings with athletic directors and others will follow next week, he said.

“Right now, our complete focus is to make the Big 12 as strong as it can possibly be,” Hocutt said. “…We’re going to continue to be part of the Power Five structure in college athletics.”

While they aren’t of the prestige of Oklahoma and Texas, several schools reportedly have reached out to the Big 12 to investigate joining the league. The Athletic reported Wednesday that at least 15 schools, most from the Mountain West and the American Athletic Conference, have an interested in moving to the Big-12.

The Athletic also reported Friday that a school high on the Big 12’s list to consider is BYU. The school plays football as an independent and is a member of the West Coast Conference in other sports.

“There is a lot of interest in the Big 12 Conference,” Hocutt told the Avalanche-Journal. “There is a lot of interest for people to be associated with us, to join with us. So we will take our time, be diligent and make sure we make the right strategic decisions for the long-term future.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 19, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; A general view of the Pac-12 conference logo on the field prior to the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 not considering expansion ‘at this time’

The Pac-12 is content being a family of 12.

The conference issued a statement Thursday indicating it isn’t looking to expand, dealing a blow to schools in the Big 12 seeking to follow Oklahoma and Texas out of the league and into another conference.

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff told The Athletic on Tuesday that conference officials had been considering expansion and would come to a quick decision.

That decision came Thursday.

“Following consultation with our presidents, chancellors and athletic directors, the Pac-12 Conference has made the decision to not pursue expansion of our membership at this time,” the statement read. “This decision was made following extensive internal discussion and analysis, and is based on the current competitive strength and cohesiveness of our 12 universities. It is also grounded in our confidence in our ability as a conference to best support our student-athletes and to grow and thrive both academically and athletically.”

The Pac-12 agreed Tuesday to form a strategic alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten, with the 41 schools working together on things such as scheduling, legislative issues and concern for student-athletes.

With the pending departure of marquee programs Oklahoma and Texas to the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12 and the eight committed member institutions face an uncertain future.

–Field Level Media