IRVING, Texas – Brett Yormark has been named the Big 12 Conference’s fifth Commissioner, as announced Wednesday by the league’s Board of Directors. Yormark succeeds Bob Bowlsby, who announced in April he was stepping away from the Commissioner’s chair after a decade with the Big 12.
Texas Tech University President and Big 12 Conference Board Chair, Lawrence Schovanec:
“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 Conference Board of Directors. “He’s authentic and genuine in the way he builds relationships and partnerships, and he works relentlessly to deliver impact. As Brett immerses himself in college sports and connects with all our stakeholders, he will bring a fresh approach and dynamic energy to the Big 12 as we engage a new generation of student-athletes and fans.”
“I want to thank my fellow board members and our partners at TurnkeyZRG. Turnkey is more than just a search firm; they orchestrated a flawless strategy and process, delivering strong interest and strong candidates from college and professional sports, as well as the media and entertainment industries,” added Schovanec.
New Big 12 Conference Commissioner, Brett Yormark:
“Thank you to the Big 12 Board, the ADs, the student-athletes, the whole Conference for giving me a chance to support what they all do,” said new Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark. “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. 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.”
Yormark joins the Big 12 from Roc Nation, where he served as chief operating officer and co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified, the commercial side of the business. Yormark, a graduate of Indiana University, began his sports career in 1988, working in the ticket office for the New Jersey Nets and ultimately reaching the pinnacle of the industry when he was named CEO. From 2005-19, as CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, he oversaw their move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, building the first new arena in New York City in 60 years and re-launching the Nets organization and brand in Brooklyn.
Barclays Center soon became a college basketball destination, attracting the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, and the Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Prior to joining the Nets, Yormark served as vice president of corporate sponsorships for NASCAR, where he oversaw a $750 million partnership agreement, the largest in history at that time, that gave Nextel Communications the naming rights to its premier racing series.
Yormark is recognized for his creative business approaches and has been named to Crain’s “40 Under 40” list twice and the “Forty Under 40” three times by the Sports Business Journal. Under Yormark’s leadership, the Barclays Center became one of the top 10 entertainment venues worldwide for ticket sales.
Yormark has two children and is married to Elaina Scotto.
The Big 12 Commissioner search was led by the conference’s Executive Committee, which includes Schovanec, Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone and Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, with the assistance of national search firm TurnkeyZRG.
The Big 12’s Board of Directors, comprised of the presidents and chancellors of the ten current Big 12 members, participated in the Commissioner interview process, along with the four new members of the conference who will enter the Big 12 in 2023. The Big 12’s current membership made the final selection of the Commissioner.
Yormark’s official start date with the Big 12 is anticipated to be August 1. His initial contract term is five years. As announced in April, Bowlsby will transition to a new interim role with the Conference, subject to the mutual agreement of the new Commissioner and Bowlsby.
The current Big 12 membership includes Baylor University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas Christian University, Texas Tech University, University of Kansas, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas and West Virginia University.
Entering Big 12 membership in the Summer of 2023 will be Brigham Young University, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati and University of Houston.
Over the past decade, the Big 12 has won 32 team national championships. In 2021-22, the Big 12 captured 8 team national titles, including NCAA men’s basketball for the second consecutive season (Baylor and Kansas). Big 12 teams have played in the last four men’s Final Fours. In football, the Big 12 has placed teams in the College Football Playoff New Year’s Bowls throughout its eight-year history. The Big 12 is the home of two of the last five Heisman Trophy winners and was the only Conference to place a team in the Final Four and CFP semi-finals in 2017-18 and 2018-19.