Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the events at Big 12 Media Days including comments on possible expansion from incoming commissioner Brett Yormark.
DAN WETZEL: Pat, you were there in Arlington. What'd you make of the-- what'd you make of the bold declarations and soft rock declarations of the Big 12?
PAT FORDE: [CHUCKLES] I gave big respect to Brett Yormark, new commissioner, for absolutely dispensing with the platitudes and the fakery. Like, at no point did he talk about our priorities or the student athlete experience. Our priorities are educating. Our priorities are mental health. Our priorities are this and that. But no, he just skipped all that, went straight to the bottom line.
He said, our number one priority is our media rights renegotiation, and everything we do going into that is to build momentum for those negotiations. So congrats to Brett Yormark for telling it like it is, for coming in from outside the college space and not talking like a college faker, you know?
He's talked like a business guy who's from the pros. And that's exactly who he was and who he's going to be. Interesting guy. He really, honestly, reminded me of Rick Pitino, another New Yorker, in terms of his ability to just kind of schmooze, and be charismatic, and you're interested in listening to him.
You can almost-- can feel the wheeling and dealing going on, but it's kind of like, OK. I kind of like this guy's wheeling and dealing, you know. I mean, it's like it's an obvious-- he's an obvious salesman, but he's probably going to be pretty good at it. So that was my main takeaway from him.
And then a couple of the other coaches fairly strongly alluded to thinking that at least the Big 12 is going to get bigger. We'll see if that happens. I don't know whether they have any insight, because I don't know whether anybody really does. These decisions get made till the last minute. But, you know, I think being open for business means being open to looking hard at expansion.
DAN WETZEL: Well, I agree. First off, if you sit there and say, we're getting a lot of calls, you're trying to rattle the cage of the other side in the Pac-12. Who's calling them? Wait, what? You know, they weren't-- they're not-- it wasn't like, hey, Coastal Carolina called. Maybe the only one who did.
But, you know, you put it out, I'm getting some really good teams that were in the top 25 in the last couple of years that have been calling. And everyone starts getting nervous. So you have that. I agree, I like Yormark. He clearly has no idea-- there were all sorts of questions he danced around because he just didn't know any details. They asked him about, like, the playoff, he seemed utterly confused.
Yeah, fine. He can catch up on that.
PAT FORDE: Right.
DAN WETZEL: Right. This is all stuff he'll learn. He's like, yeah, you know, I got to-- I got to do this. I got to have this meeting. But there was no apologies of what this is about. We got to get more money. We've got to do whatever it takes to get more money. And it is, the Big 12 needs to close the gap, or have as small as possible of a gap with the Big 10 and the SEC as they can get.
I remember a long time ago, talking to someone in that league, I can't remember who now, and they said, look, we're never going to-- our states aren't big enough. We have Texas, but there's a lot of Texas. But our others, we just can't-- we're never going to have as much money as those states.
We don't have a Georgia. We don't-- you know, Kansas is in Georgia, and Nebraska, or whatever they had then. Oklahoma is not Michigan. And, you know, you just can't do it. So we always are gonna have to play a little behind the eight ball on that. That's fine. So he's got to do whatever he can.
What I would say is, again, the pretext of, oh, this is about anything other than money, which is always a lot-- remember I did the bowl or the charity thing a couple of weeks ago? Like--
PAT FORDE: Oh, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: --no, don't give any money to the charity. That's the point. That's what I was talking about. It's all a lie. There is no charity, there's no concern for anybody else. This is a blood sport. The biggest way the Big 12 can make the most money in this TV deal is eliminate the Pac-12 as a competitor.