Big 12 targeting Brett Yormark to replace Bob Bowlsby as commissioner, sources say

The Big 12 is targeting Brett Yormark to be its next commissioner, sources told ESPN on Monday night, confirming a Sports Illustrated report.

Yormark is COO of Jay Z’s Roc Nation, having been promoted in January. He was previously co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified, a global licensing division within the agency, along with his brother, Michael.

It would mark an out-of-the-box hire for the Big 12 amid the vastly changing collegiate landscape. Yormark has little experience at the college sports level. He did, however, spend nearly 15 years with Barclays Sports and Entertainment, including as CEO, before leaving for Roc Nation in 2019.

Yormark would replace Bob Bowlsby, who announced in April that he was stepping down as commissioner.

Bowlsby was appointed to the role in 2012, following defections from Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Texas A&M to other leagues. He added TCU and West Virginia and was able to maintain the Big 12’s role as a Power 5 league, and he reinstated the conference’s football title game in 2017.

During Bowlsby’s tenure, the Big 12 has won 25 NCAA team national championships, including the past two men’s basketball titles by Kansas and Baylor.

But it’s also a conference in transition. Last year, Texas and Oklahoma announced they were bolting for the SEC. Bowlsby steadied the league and engineered the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston, which will join no later than the 2024-25 academic year. Texas and Oklahoma have publicly said they will remain until their Big 12 rights expire in 2025.