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Lawrence Journal-World: Yormark says Big 12 will leave revenue-sharing pace up to schools; more from media days


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Lawrence Journal-World: Yormark says Big 12 will leave revenue-sharing pace up to schools; more from media days


Las Vegas — Some power-conference athletic departments have already begun to announce that they plan to share the maximum possible amount of revenue with student-athletes in the aftermath of the proposed House v. NCAA antitrust settlement, but the Big 12 does not plan to impose any sort of timeline for investment on its member schools.

Commissioner Brett Yormark said at Big 12 media days on Tuesday morning at Allegiant Stadium that he will leave it up to individual schools to dictate the pace at which they invest in revenue sharing.

“We as a conference, which means our 16 member institutions, are going to continue to compete at the highest level, and will continue to invest in the areas that we need to in order to do so,” Yormark said. “Very confident in how we’re going to spend and invest over the coming years, but obviously to the pace at which it moves, I’ll leave that up to the schools.”

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati announced on June 28 that his athletic department will “fully participate at the maximum level,” which under the terms of the proposed settlement would mean supplying a pool of more than $20 million to the Horned Frogs’ athletes when the resolution of the House case is finalized.

Later, in a post on X directed at Donati, his Texas Tech counterpart Kirby Hocutt wrote, “Congrats on following us on revenue sharing at the highest level too,” suggesting the Red Raiders could do the same.

“Along with the advent of Title IX in 1972, this settlement is the most important development in collegiate athletics history,” Donati wrote in his announcement. “Just like in any business or walk of life, change can bring new opportunities. Maximizing as many of those as possible for our student-athletes is vital.”

Yormark struck a similar tone in his remarks to media on Tuesday, stating that the Big 12 “will not stumble into this new era following (the) settlement — in fact, we will be aggressive and very proactive,” and that the settlement “provides a very crystal-clear future and path forward for our industry.”

“It provides incredibly enhanced benefits for our student-athletes,” Yormark said. “… That’s what they want, that’s what the settlement delivers.”

The pace at which those benefits get provided may vary from school to school. Outside of the Big 12, Ohio State athletic director Ross Bjork told The Columbus Dispatch that the Buckeyes will share revenue at the maximum level beginning in 2025. Meanwhile, at the Group of Five level, Utah State athletic director Diana Sabau told The Salt Lake Tribune that the Aggies will gradually build up their revenue sharing and “get there perhaps a little bit slower, or a more thought out process, than the Power Five.”

Where exactly Kansas fits in remains to be seen. KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said in an interview with the Journal-World in late May, as news of the proposed House settlement was coming out, “The answer is we don’t have $20 million to spend. It is permissive. It is not required. You may be right that everybody may be at the ($20 million) cap, but I don’t see that happening out of the gates because nobody has the revenue.”

Athletic director Travis Goff also mentioned challenges in planning for the cap during June’s KU Athletics board meeting, a meeting that ended with the board neither presenting nor approving a budget for the fiscal year 2025 due to “unknowns” in college athletics, and suggesting it would do so in September instead.

Girod had cited potential Title IX concerns regarding the revenue sharing and how it would be split between athletes in men’s and women’s sports. That was also one of several areas in which Yormark mentioned on Tuesday that the Big 12 will continue to seek clarity, along with roster limits and potential enforcement.

“We are going through change, but I would rather call it a necessary reset,” Yormark said. “In 10 years, I think we look back at this period as a positive moment in collegiate athletics history.”

More from Yormark

• The Big 12 Mexico initiative, which was going to feature men’s and women’s basketball games between KU and Houston in Mexico City in December, was delayed back in April. KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self said soon after that he was “glad.”

On Tuesday, Yormark said that the league’s future forays in Mexico will now begin with a focus on women’s soccer and/or baseball instead.

• The Big 12 has been in the news of late for its aggressive pursuit of new revenue streams, including potential naming-rights deals and private-equity investment. Yormark alluded to both as possibilities, but did not want to discuss private equity in detail.

“I do believe that given where we are, the industry, having a capital resource as a partner makes a ton of sense,” he said. “That’s really how you conduct good business, I really believe that. And if you see where private equity is kind of making a path into professional sports, at some point in time it’s going to come here into collegiate athletics. So we are exploring what that might look like.”

Referencing another potential financial infusion, Yormark also said, “I’ve been very vocal with the NCAA to push for making commercial patches permissible for officials’ uniforms, similar to what the NBA has done. I’ve spoken to our football officials and they are in favor of it, and I’m optimistic this will happen soon.”

• Yormark declared the Big 12 the deepest football conference in the country and said “every week will matter.”

“I think there’s a lot of parity,” he said. “We’ve got 16 great coaches, we’ve got a lot of star power, when you think about the quarterbacks, you think about the running backs. Many of our programs have been building over the last couple of years. So I think it’s only natural and appropriate for us to think that way right now.”

• The Big 12 continues to pursue alternative television windows, as discussed as last year’s media days, due to the amount of programming that saturates Saturdays.

• Yormark said the Big 12 is going to implement an alumni council, with membership to be announced on Wednesday, which “will provide a former student-athlete perspective for the league as we continue to grow.”

• The Big 12’s centralized pro day event for all of its schools, which debuted earlier this spring, will return in 2025, Yormark said.

• Yormark reiterated that the Big 12’s choice of Las Vegas for media days after the event was previously based in Arlington, Texas, was due to a “scheduling conflict,” but said he was happy to be in the market and added, “I’ve been stopped at least a dozen times by student-athletes saying ‘Thank you for getting me to Vegas.'” He also said the conference plans to have a formal affiliation with the Las Vegas Bowl in the future.