Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark says he sees a lot of himself in Coach Prime

The Buffs’ return to the Big 12 marks a significant moment for the conference
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
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Colorado head coach Deion Sanders has created waves in the college football landscape. Though he wasn't slated to speak at Big 12 Media Days until Wednesday, his presence was felt early on. Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark brought up Sanders during an informal session following his main press conference. He also drew a fascinating comparison between himself and Sanders, both being relatively new to their roles and known for their disruptive, yet positive, influences.

Yormark acknowledged that both he and Sanders enjoy breaking boundaries and stirring the pot in beneficial ways. This approach, Yormark suggested, is essential for the evolution of college athletics. Sanders' impact on the Colorado program is already evident despite their 4-8 record last season. His first year brought a level of excitement and attention that hadn't been witnessed in years.

"I would look at (Sanders) kind of like me," Yormark said. "We’re both a little disruptive. I guess, in a positive way. And we like to break boundaries in a positive way. We like to stir the pot a little bit and that’s healthy and I think college athletics needs it.”

Sanders’ ability to generate interest aligns perfectly with Yormark’s vision for the Big 12, which he envisions at the intersection of sports and entertainment. The synergy between Sanders' dynamic personality and the conference's aspirations makes him an ideal fit for the Big 12, even though Yormark is careful not to play favorites among the conference's 16 football coaches.

How to watch, stream Big 12 Football Media Days in Las Vegas

The Buffs’ return to the Big 12, after more than a 14-year run in the Pac-12, which marks a significant moment for the conference. Yormark has been responsible for expanding to 16 members with the addition of Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah from the Pac-12 in the 2024-25 season.

"We have 16 great football coaches,” Yormark said. “I’ve gotten to know Coach Prime really well. I love his energy and I love his passion for what he does. We’re obviously excited for Colorado to come back to the conference. He’s a football legend. And, let’s face it, there’s a big audience that follows him and that’s going to benefit the Big 12 and all of our schools. So we embrace Coach Prime no different than we would embrace all of our coaches and everything they bring to the conference.”

The enthusiasm for Sanders and the Buffs is clear. Yormark praised Coach Prime's energy and passion, noting that his legendary status in football and the substantial following he commands will benefit the Big 12 and its member schools. This is indicative of a broader strategy to capitalize on high-profile figures to elevate the conference's profile and appeal.

The anticipation surrounding Sanders' address to the media underscores his magnetic influence. His ability to draw attention and energize a fan base is precisely what the Big 12 aims to harness as it navigates the evolving landscape of college athletics. In embracing Sanders and his unique brand of leadership, the Big 12 is positioning itself for a vibrant and dynamic future.

Jason Jones