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Brett Yormark: BYU Has ‘Embraced Innovation’ As Big 12 Member

Jul 10, 2024, 11:10 PM

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LAS VEGAS – Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark saved a conference that had an uncertain future after losing Texas and Oklahoma.

Two years later, it’s a bold league branding its football product as the “deepest league in America.”

Within the depth is BYU.

Yormark wasn’t part of the Big 12 when BYU was added to the conference in 2021, along with Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF. That was a move made by former Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

Bowlsby always saw great potential in BYU. That was one reason he immediately called Tom Holmoe and invited them into the league in the summer of 2021.

From the moment the former ROC Nation executive stepped into the Big 12 chair, he’s worked with BYU brass in their transition from Independence and the West Coast Conference to life in the Power Four.

Brett Yormark believes BYU has been a “first mover” in fast-paced Big 12

During an interview with KSL Sports’ Cougar Sports Saturday crew, he was asked if the BYU administration has been conservative to his fast-paced vision for the league.

His vision has included potential naming rights for the league, private equity, and the chase to be the top conference in the land.

“Fantastic — a first mover,” Yormark said about BYU to Cougar Sports Saturday. “They have embraced the notion of innovation, doing things differently, breaking boundaries, and being positively disruptive. They have been at the forefront and very supportive of what I bring to the table.”

That’s a far different outlook on BYU than what they were historically painted to be as a conference expansion candidate nearly two decades ago.

BYU athletics is looking to compete for Big 12 titles

BYU has stretched itself to compete at a high level in the Big 12 Conference. The football team struggled in its first season last year, finishing 5-7. However, as an athletic department, BYU finished 36th nationally in the Directors’ Cup standings.

One of the highlights was the men’s basketball program finishing fifth in the Big 12 and reaching the NCAA Tournament after being picked 13th.

The Directors’ Cup finish puts BYU fourth among the 16 universities that make up the new-look Big 12.

Yormark, often known for having a whiteboard filled with ideas in his office, pointed out that despite BYU and the 16 league members’ overwhelming support, the power conference needs to be strategic in this fast-paced environment of college athletics.

“I want us to be bold, I want us to be aggressive, but we need to be thoughtful at the same time. We can’t forget where we came from, and we’ve got to infuse a little bit and stitch together a little bit of the old and the new. But that being said, [BYU] has been great supporters and I appreciate their support.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Brett Yormark: BYU Has ‘Embraced Innovation’ As Big 12 Member