Big 12 Conference commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Days at Allegiant Stadium. Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

“I will not stop until we are the No. 1 conference in America.”

That was Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark on Tuesday during Big 12 football media days, just in case you were wondering where his head is at entering a very pivotal 2024 college football season.

The Big 12 enters the season following yet another makeover in the ever-evolving carousel of college athletics. A year after welcoming the Houston Cougars, BYU Cougars, Central Florida Knights, and Cincinnati Bearcats into the fold, the league welcomed several Pac-12 castoffs (Utah Utes, Colorado Buffaloes, Arizona Wildcats, and Arizona State Sun Devils), cementing itself as the No. 3 conference in the land (for now), behind the Big Ten and SEC.

“We’ve solidified ourselves as one of the top three conferences in America,” Yormark told reporters without a hint of irony, adding “We are more relevant now than ever before” and calling their football league “the deepest conference in America.”

Bold sentiments for sure, but the commish had good reason to be bullish. The fall of the Pac-12 helped carve out an opportunity for the Big-12 to secure its future, at least in the short term. And with a lot of people wondering what will happen to the ACC if and when Clemson and Florida State finally leave, that future could be bright for the league. At least until the Big Ten and SEC reach their final form.

On Tuesday, Yormark spoke about the league with a real sense of opportunity, especially around the way he expects the conference to take advantage of its situation related to media access.

The most curious statement of the day was the Big 12 commissioner telling reporters that the conference is “taking an innovative approach exploring new TV windows.” That obtuse comment, as posted by CBS Sports’ Shehan Jeyarajah, elicited some absurd thoughts on just how innovative the Big 12 was thinking of being.

Yormark did provide some further context, via Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, implying the conference might consider kickoff times outside of the norm.

“There’s a lot going on on Saturdays. The questions are there new TV windows we can explore? To highlight our teams differently,” he said. “We have to kick the tires & figure out other (TV) windows that make sense.”

Looking further ahead, Yormark also spoke about the conference’s media rights, which will next up for negotiations in 2030. While that’s still a while off, he’s already mulling ways to generate bigger profits, including the possibility of splitting basketball and football rights to separate bidders.

“In the Big 12’s next TV deal (2030), Brett Yormark says the league is deeply exploring “bifurcating” football and basketball, selling each separately as packages to a media network(s),” wrote SI’s Ross Dellenger.

The most obvious question would be about what happens to the Big 12’s Olympic sports and women’s sports if they head down that road, but we’re guessing the conference is simply kicking the tires on that idea for now.

The league’s current deal was an extension of the prior one with ESPN and Fox and is said to be worth around $2.3 billion.

Yormark has made it clear he’s leaving no stone unturned when it comes to monetizing the conference and its athletics programs. He previously said he would consider selling a stake in the conference itself to a private equity firm, though that’s a situation that’s still a ways off from happening.

[Ross Dellenger, Shehan Jeyarajah, Brett McMurphy]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to