Brett Yormark hails the Big 12 as the ‘deepest’ college football conference

LAS VEGAS — Brett Yormark began the Big 12’s first media day as a 16-team league with an optimistic outlook for what he called the “deepest conference in America.”

Yormark said Tuesday that the addition of Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado is a boost, despite the loss of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC and gives the Big 12 stability in an era of constant change.

“We’ve solidified ourselves as one of the top three conferences in America,” he said. “There’s never been a better time to be a part of the Big 12. We’re truly a national conference in 10 states, four time zones and all eyes are now on the Big 12 for all the right reasons. I think it’s safe to say we’re now more than ever. more relevant than.”

Yormark highlighted the strength of the league as a whole, noting that the Big 12 recorded nine teams in bowl games with the second-best winning percentage in college football, but also had an NCAA Tournament-record eight men’s basketball. Bid and seven in women’s basketball, and added a stronger basketball program.

The NCAA antitrust settlement provides $2.7 billion in back damages, along with a new revenue sharing model, giving the Big 12 an opportunity to be aggressive and innovative in finding new sources of revenue, Yormark said. He characterizes his league as a “mature startup” that can take more risks than some more traditional conferences.

The Big 12 has explored selling the league’s naming rights and exploring private equity investment opportunities, which Yormark confirmed, confirming a statement two years ago when he said the league was interested in expansion and “open for business.”

“As we enter this new chapter, I can assure you that Big 12 schools will compete at the highest level and they will continue to invest,” he said. “From a conference perspective, we’re exploring all options. Two years later, I guess you can stay, we’re still open for business. Naming rights is one. Private equity is another.”

Yormark said he expected his teams to take advantage of the “enhanced student-athlete” benefits provided under the settlement, and his job was to find ways to generate more revenue for the teams to stay competitive.

This year’s media days are in Las Vegas because of renovations at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, where the event is usually held. But Yormark said he considers Las Vegas a key market for the league as the “entertainment and sports capital of the world.” He said he would look for ways to expand exposure to his team and the league, even working with ESPN and Fox on possible new TV windows for game time, but he could not elaborate.

As the SEC and Big Ten continue to flex their muscles on the future of college football, Yormark says he’s not worried.

“I wake up every morning and I think about one thing, the Big 12 is being the best version of myself. Everything else doesn’t really matter,” Yormark said. “If we take care of business, we’re going to be fine. I’m a firm believer in that. We’re more relevant now than ever. We’re a national conference. We have 16 great brands. We’re going to be the deepest football conference in America and we’re going to be well represented in the CFP. “


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