Just in time for the college sports world to enter another round of uncertainty and realignment, this week the Big 12 Conference has made its selection for a new Commissioner to lead it into this brave new world. Brett Yormark joins the Big 12 after previously serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Roc Nation, the entertainment agency founded by rap artist Jay-Z which manages major artists such as Rihanna, Meek Mill, Christina Agueilera, and Megan Thee Stallion. While having no experience in college athletics administration, Yormark has vast experience in the professional sports world. Prior to joining Roc Nation, he was the CEO of the NBA’s Nets and BSE Global for 14+ years, overseeing the team’s move to Brooklyn, construction of the Barclays Center and bringing many high-profile events to the arena such as major boxing matches, the NCAA Tournament, and the ACC Tournament. Yormark also spent time as an executive with NASCAR, with a focus on sponsorships and marketing.
Following on the Pac 12’s 2021 hire of George Kliavkoff, who was an executive at MGM Resorts before joining the conference, Yormark again represents a move away from conference commissioners with long-time history in college sports or university administration. With the newly announced departure of USC and UCLA from the Pac 12 to the Big Ten, Kliavkoff and Yormark will likely soon be in a battle for the conference affiliation of its respective programs as another major conference realignment arms race seems to have arrived.
This focus on maneuvering through the change that was sure to come was clearly on top of mind for the Big 12 leadership conducting the search. As Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech President & Chairman of the Big 12 Board noted in the conference press release, “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.” We’ll keep our eyes on Yormark as he looks to not just keep the Big 12 afloat but grow even greater in the years to come. He’ll officially begin the role on August 1st; Big 12 Media Days will be July 13-14 at AT&T Stadium.