Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark says conference vetting options but doesn't 'have to expand'

IRVING, Texas -- Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark reiterated Thursday that league leaders will continue to vet "every option possible to further enhance this conference" but also said the Big 12 does not have to expand.

The comment comes a day after Yormark said the Big 12 would be interested in "going out west" for potential conference expansion

"I love our conference," he said Thursday. "I've said this before, I think we're very aligned. That was reaffirmed on this recent campus tour. I've got a couple of more schools I need to visit, but the energy, the enthusiasm, the like-mindedness. It's been fantastic. And I sensed that early on when I engaged with the board, but I've really sensed it and felt it when I've been on campus. So no, to answer your question, we don't have to expand. Again, we'll consider every and all options to better position this conference for the long haul."

Speaking Wednesday during a visit to future Big 12 member Cincinnati, Yormark had said the league would be interested in adding members from the Pacific time zone.

"Obviously, going out west is where I would like to go, entering that fourth time zone," Yormark said Wednesday, adding that the Big 12's wish list includes, "A program that has national recognition, one that competes at the highest level in basketball and football, stands for the right things, is a good cultural fit."

Yormark said those comments didn't impact his ability to work with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff on Thursday when the two were in the same cramped room together for a College Football Playoff meeting about possibly implementing a 12-team format as early as the 2024 season.

"Everyone in that room is a pro," Yormark said of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. "They've been doing this for many, many years, and they understand there's the business side and the personal side. And when we go in there, it's all business. And it's never personal. And that's the way I've always conducted my life."

Kliavkoff declined comment when he left the meeting, but those within the room described the atmosphere as "collegial" and "collaborative."

It was also the first time the entire group was together since the Big Ten announced its decision to add USC and UCLA in 2024.

"We hugged it out in California," Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said. "That's the nature of life. He's a good man and I've got great respect for him. Life is long."

The Big 12 will add BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF on July 1, 2023, and the SEC has said Texas and Oklahoma will join the league on July 1, 2025.