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Big 12 Seeking to Expand West, Eyes School With 'National Recognition,' Yormark Says

Doric SamSeptember 7, 2022

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark has not been shy about his desire to expand the conference in the future amid the era of realignment, and he reiterated his stance Wednesday.

When asked about potential expansion, Yormark told reporters: "Obviously going out west is where I would like to go, entering that fourth time zone. A program that has national recognition."

While it doesn't appear that Yormark was referring to any specific school, he further explained what he'd be looking for in another conference member.

"One that competes at the highest level in basketball and football, stands for the right things, is a good cultural fit," Yormark said. "Because our alignment right now and the like-mindedness of all our member institutions is fantastic. It's never been better. So I don't want to compromise that."

After the surprising departures of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten this summer, Yormark said in July the Big 12 was "exploring all options, and we are open for business." CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd reported that the conference was "involved in deep discussions to add multiple Pac-12 programs," naming Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah as possible targets.

The Big 12 is still adjusting as it prepares for the impending losses of Texas and Oklahoma, both of whom are set to join the SEC in 2025. The current media rights deal for the Big 12 expires after the 2024-25 academic year.

While the conference will add Cincinnati, BYU, Houston and UCF in 2023, the Big 12 is still far behind the SEC and the Big Ten in the college sports hierarchy. It appears that the era of superconferences is imminent, as realignment likely will not be ending any time soon.

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