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The Big 12 officially announced the hiring of Brett Yormark as the fifth commissioner of the conference on Wednesday. The decision was announced by the league’s board of directors. 

Yormark comes to the league after spending three years at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation serving as the COO and co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified, the commercial side of the business. He replaces former Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who stepped down from his role after 10 years in April.

Bowlsby had previously been the longest-tenured person in a commissioner's role in a Power 5 conference. Yormark has worked with countless artists, athletes, leagues, teams, brands as well as oversaw sponsorship, licensing, content partnerships and brand strategy. 

These key elements are important as Yormark now joins the college football landscape, one that is dominated by name, image and likeness and an unstable terrain in which the NCAA’s Power 5 conferences are “seeking to have more legislative power” and the “ability to shape rules and even enforce policy on their own,” as SI’s Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde wrote this week.

Dellenger and Forde: Sources: Big 12 Aiming to Hire Roc Nation Executive Brett Yormark as Next Commissioner

The 55-year-old Yormark said he is eager to “listen, learn, find ways to add value, add resources and try to help shine light” on college sports. 

“I look forward to leveraging my experience and network alongside our presidents, chancellors and athletic directors to shape the future of the Big 12 brand and emphasize our collective strengths,” Yormark said in a statement released by the conference.

In addition to the NIL frenzy, Yormark will be charged with navigating the league’s “richest members,” Texas and Oklahoma, leaving for the Southeastern Conference by 2025, re-arranging the conference’s media rights deal that ends after the 2024–25 season as well welcoming other institutions—UCF, Houston, Cincinnati and BYU—into the conference.

While Yormark is limited in college sports experience, he brings a wealth of involvement from the professional basketball arena. Before joining Roc Nation in ’19, Yormark spent 14 years as CEO of BSE Global, which oversees the Barclays Center and the NBA’s Nets.

During his time with BSE, he established deals to host the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament games, the ACC men’s basketball tournament and several noteworthy non-conference college basketball games involving Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and North Carolina. 

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