2022 Big 12 Media Days: “The Big 12 Is Open For Business”

2022 Big 12 Media Days: "The Big 12 Is Open For Business"

The Big 12 kicked off the 2022 “Talkin’ Season” on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas. With all of the wildness of this offseason, between major coaching changes, the Big 12 securing a date for its new teams to join, and certainly realignment talk, Big 12 Media Days were primed for more bombshell information to explode. But instead, teams provided quotes all day about goals, team leadership, and many of the usual items heading into a new season. It was noteworthy for Big 12 fans to finally hear from the new commissioner. Brett Yormark provided a prepared statement that was roughly seven minutes long. And while he officially doesn’t take over until August 1st, Yormark announced his intentions early on, “The Big 12 is open for business.”

Biggest Quote Of The Day “The Big 12 Is Open For Business”

If he said it once, he might as well have said it 1,000 times. Yormark did not shy away from the changing landscape of college football. And while he did not state directly that the Big 12 was pursuing teams from a fractured Pac 12, he did state “The Big 12 is open for business.” He further added, “we will leave no stone unturned to drive value for the conference.” Make no mistake, the biggest item on Yormark’s plate is sticking the landing on a new media deal. And while he stated he was “bullish” on the Big 12’s current negotiating position, he recognizes the conference is in a position where it simply cannot stand still.

In less than a calendar year, it has been announced that Texas and Oklahoma are leaving for the SEC and USC and UCLA are leaving for the Big 10. College athletics also have been thrust into a name, image, and likeness (NIL) world with zero guidance. College football’s landscape is a critical point that will define the next decade or even further.  West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said, “This isn’t it.” when asked about all of the recent changes in college football, not just about realignment.

While Yormark has plenty to get up to speed on, the business executive understands the urgency to bring stability and security to a conference that really hasn’t had any long-term security since it started playing football in 1996. How he decides to expand the conference is going to have a direct impact on just how bullish he really will be able to be when the negotiations start.

The Big 12 Is Going To Be…Cool Again?

When answering a question about the Big 12 brand, Yormark responded with, “I think there are opportunities to become a little bit more national, to position our brand a little younger, hipper, cooler,” He elaborated saying, “How do we connect to the youth culture, diversify some of the things we’re doing. I think we have a great opportunity.” He specifically referenced how they will utilize social media to connect to the fans and its athletes.

The SEC is the current marketing king of college football. After all “It Just Means More.” That slogan, which appears to have originated in the 2016 season, has been both a source of pride for the conference and the punch line of many, many jokes. Regardless of which fan you ask about the SEC, they all know this now iconic line. Yormark is certainly aiming to elevate the Big 12 brand in its own way.

Yormark even showed a little personality. Robert Allen, from the Cowboy Radio Network, mentioned he has a few different jobs and before he could get his question out, Yormark interjected with “I have two for the next few weeks.” He also shared that he was a drummer in a band growing up. Safe to say Yormark didn’t ‘ROC’ the stage that well, but certainly his experience at the global entertainment giant as well as previous executive-level positions has plenty of fans and coaches excited for the new leadership in the conference.

Quick Hits From Coaches

It was pretty note-worthy when Baylor announced it was moving in a different direction at the quarterback position this spring and not at the start of fall camp. Head coach Dave Aranda name Blake Shapen the starter over Gerry Bohanon. Aranda stated to the media on Wednesday that he valued the person over the player, which is why he decided on a starting quarterback in the spring, giving Bohanon time to transfer. In a cutthroat world of college football, this was a very refreshing thing to hear from coach Aranda.

Kansas continues its major rebuild and this season will rely heavily on returning production. Head coach Lance Leipold, when asked about the 17 starters returning, said that experience is showing up in leadership and the confidence of his team. Kansas has a very good chance to move out of “meme-status” as a program this year.

Kansas State is a big “sleeper” pick in the Big 12 this year. But their leading offensive weapon isn’t a surprise to anyone, including their head coach. Chris Klieman said today that “whatever changes the offense goes through, it still starts with getting Deuce Vaughn his carries.” Smart idea coach.

Oklahoma State, coming off a season that came so close to a conference championship, has one of the more impactful newcomers to the conference. That is new defensive coordinator Derek Mason, who takes over for Jim Knowles. Head Coach Mike Gundy stated today that “Derek has been fantastic…he has a great relationship with the players…the transition has been smooth, couldn’t be happier.” Pokes fans can only hope the defense is as good as last season’s unit.