Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde report that the Big 12 is set to hire the Chief Operating Officer of Roc Nation, Brett Yormark, as the next Big 12 Commissioner:
Brett Yormark, the COO of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, is finalizing a deal to be the new leader of the Power 5 league, sources tell Sports Illustrated, a stunning move that brings yet another outsider into college sports’ most exclusive and powerful group.
Yormark, 55, has spent the last three years at Roc Nation, originally as co-CEO with twin brother Michael. In his various roles at Roc Nation, he’s worked with artists, athletes, leagues, teams and brands and oversees sponsorship, licensing, content partnerships and brand strategy. These are essential elements and qualities especially beneficial in an ever-changing college sports landscape that entered a new phase last July with the lifting of the NCAA’s amateurism rules. The era of name, image and likeness (NIL) has brought legalized athlete pay, agent involvement and player branding never before seen in college sports.
Yormark is thought of as one of the more connected and bright executives within the entertainment agency industry. He was promoted in January to COO and president of business operations and strategy. Desiree Perez, CEO of Roc Nation, has referred to Yormark as “a fearless leader.”
This hire not a former Big 12 athletic director or a retread or an inside the box sort of hire. Obviously no experience as a college conference commissioner, but smart people are capable of figuring things out quickly and it appears that the Big 12 university presidents understand that they absolutely need to nail the next television contract. And Yormark can hire someone who is more familiar with college athletics to fill any gaps.
I do have one quibble, which is that the article states that, “The Big 12 will be following the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 in renegotiating its TV contract—a prickly position to navigate as its media rights revenue is expected to decrease.” I’m here to tell you that the money for live sports has never decreased and I sort of expect it not to decrease any time soon.
I’m on board and hope that this proves to be a good hire for the Big 12 Conference.