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

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

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: Later CFP dates not out of question

The College Football Playoff games are set for Jan. 1 and Jan. 11, but that doesn’t mean they are set in stone, according to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

It is “within reason,” if unlikely, that the games could be moved back to accommodate more regular-season games, Bowlsby said Thursday on SiriusXM College Radio.

“I’m on the CFP operations committee, and we’ve spent some time talking about” moving the games back, he said. “We haven’t come to any closure on it, but there is some latitude to postpone if that need should arise, and the same is true with some of the New Year’s Six games. But within reason you can do those things.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages nationwide, nearly two dozen college games were postponed or canceled between last week and this week.

Four of the games that won’t be held this week are in the Southeastern Conference.

The Big Ten and the Pac-12, among other conferences, have been canceling games rather than postponing them because of a lack of time to make them up before the conference title games, which are scheduled for Dec. 19, as is the SEC’s.

“I don’t know if I see us playing a championship game in February, but you just never know,” Bowlsby said. “These are unusual times, and things that might otherwise not be acceptable have to be considered in this kind of circumstance.”

Bowlsby’s comments came a day after SEC commissioner Greg Sankey tried to keep the focus on the scheduled game dates.

“We have finish lines right now, so my focus is on Dec. 19 for an SEC championship game,” Sankey said. “I’ve said that. The semifinals are on (Jan. 1). The championship on the 11th … I’m not going to hypothesize about change, but I’m not inattentive to the potential that change may need to occur at a number of different levels.”

Bill Hancock, the College Football Playoff executive director, told ESPN this week: “No one knows how many games any team will be playing. Everyone’s goal is to get the games in within the cone of safety. For the selection committee, it’s status quo. This is not a surprise. Most of us expected games to be postponed or canceled. Everyone is moving forward as best they can.”

–Field Level Media