Yormark: Zags, UConn talks ‘didn’t exercise’

  • Myron Medcalf, ESPN

    • Staff WriterAug 16, 2023, 12:52 PM ET Close Covers college basketball
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
    • Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Big 12 will not add Gonzaga and UConn, 2 basketball powerhouses, after initial conversations about the potential relocations, commissioner Brett Yormark stated Wednesday.Yormark signed up with John

Ourand and Andrew Marchand on the”Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast” to talk about the conference’s evolution after the Big 12 recently added previous Pac-12 schools Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and Colorado. In 2015, the Big 12 announced the additions of Houston, Cincinnati, UCF and BYU.The commissioner stated discuss possibly including Gonzaga, a West Coast Conference powerhouse, and UConn, the reigning nationwide champ in guys’s basketball and the most dominant force in ladies’s basketball over the past 20 years, have ended due to those current growth moves.Editor’s Picks

  • 1 Associated “I did have discussions with UConn and Gonzaga, and sadly, things didn’t work out, only because the dream situation unfolded for us, so those conversations are no longer,” Yormark said on the podcast. “I’m a huge admirer of both of those programs. They’re fantastic for all the right reasons, however I’m focused on the transition of those four [brand-new schools] today.”

    Yormark’s moves have not just boosted the league’s football strength– in spite of Oklahoma and Texas being set to leave for the SEC in 2024– but likewise increased the power of America’s best guys’s basketball league. The Big 12 has finished initially in KenPom’s conference rankings in 8 of the past 10 seasons and captured 2 of the previous 3 national championships. The addition of Arizona and Houston need to enable the Huge 12 to maintain that crown for the foreseeable future.Yormark stated he thinks basketball is “underestimated “in the growth conversation.

    “We are the deepest conference, I think, in America when it comes to football, but perhaps, we are the No. 1 conference in basketball, and I’m excited about that,” he said.He also said basketball is crucial to the Huge 12’s prepare for global collaborations. Kansas and Houston will play in Mexico in 2024, the league recently announced.Overall, Yormark stated expansion has actually changed the Huge 12’s worth in future television settlements.”We feel now– remaining in 10 states, having

    over 90 million people in our footprint, remaining in four time zones– offers the Huge 12 a possibility to do some fantastic things when we get back into that next television settlement,”Yormark stated on the podcast.” So the No. 1 directing concept for us was value creation, and it will always be that as we consider growth or, for that matter, anything else we do.” Yormark said he has spoken with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff after current growth relocations threatened the future of the latter’s conference. Yormark stated he informed the other Power 5 commissioners a year ago that there would be times when they would”contend”and other times when they would need to merge.”I still have a bit of a knot in my stomach,”Yormark said. “I never desire my gain to be anybody else’s loss. On the heels of not just Colorado however of all Four Corner schools coming, I texted [Kliavkoff], reached out to him. … He and I spoke recently and, successfully, I said,’I’m sorry it came down to this and I’m sorry I put you in a difficult position, but this was something we had to do. … And I’m sorry that my gain is your loss. ‘And we had a very collegial conversation. [Kliavkoff] was fantastic. “

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