Yormark announces scheduling details, gives media rights update

Photo credit: Ryan Weaver for The Big 12.

The official details of the Big 12’s future are coming into focus.

Commissioner Brett Yormark officially announced the league will continue to play nine league football games once the conference expands to 14 schools next July. Those two nine-game schedules guarantee each school will every other at least once during a two-year span.

The schedules will come with protected rivalries, but Yormark was not prepared to announce those yet and said they will come sometime in early December.

“I’m excited about what it’ll look like,” Yormark said. “Rivalries preserved. Looking at geography from a student-athlete perspective and travel so all those principles are part of the decision-making. We’ll end up in a great place.”

The league will also stick with its 18-game league schedule in men’s and women’s basketball, guaranteeing each school will play every other home and away, during the two years prior to Oklahoma and Texas’ departure for the SEC.

Yormark was adamant on Tuesday in Kansas City that Oklahoma and Texas are fully committed to staying with the league all the way through the current media rights deal that ends in 2025 rather than paying an early exit fee to the league.

“They’re gonna be here through ’25,” Yormark said. “They’ve committed themselves in advance of me getting here. They’ve reiterated that commitment. So they’ll be here through the duration. My relationship with both Texas and Oklahoma is very, very strong.”

One point Yormark hammered home was the feeling of unity across the league at this time even with the impending additions of Cincinnati, UCF, Houston and BYU and the looming departures of Oklahoma and Texas.

“The alignment is fantastic,” Yormark said. “In fact, I witnessed that a bit when I was going through the interview process last June. A couple of weeks ago, we hosted our first in-person board meeting since I’ve been the commissioner. The alignment, the like-mindedness, the fact that we share the same mission and vision is great. That includes the four new member institutions that are coming in July, which we’re extremely excited about.”

The discussions about scheduling and league alignment have come as Yormark and the league have started early discussions with media rights partners ESPN and Fox about potentially signing an early extension to the rights.

Even if the league doesn’t reach a deal in the near future, they’ll still have an exclusive negotiating window with the partners starting in roughly 16 months ahead of the deal’s expiration in July 2025.

“We’ve had meaningful discussions,” Yormark said. “Initially, it was all about is this something we want to pursue? Is there a desire to get to the table and see if we can do an early extension? I think on both sides, the answer to that question was yes. Everyone’s motivated. The question is, can we get to a deal? I have some parameters in place that I’m looking for. And we’ll see if we can get there. If we can’t, we’ll wait 16 months, and then ultimately go into that exclusive negotiating period. My gut tells me we get something done before that.”

Yormark made clear any new media rights deal will not leave the Big 12 falling even further behind the powerhouse leagues the Big Ten and SEC.

Despite reports that the Big 12’s media rights value could nearly be cut in half without Oklahoma and Texas, Yormark is focused on ensuring the league’s revenue grows rather than decreases.

“Let me say very clearly, we’re not going backward, and we’re not staying flat. We’re going up,” Yormark said. “The question is how far up? Okay, so we will grow revenue when you think about our multimedia rights deal. Beyond that, we need to diversify our revenue. We need to look at creating tentpole events, and how can we monetize them? How do we create IP? How do we provide premium experiences? Do we create a direct-to-consumer platform that helps us connect with our displaced fans? There’s lots of different things that we’re exploring.”

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.