DALLAS. Brett Yormark, chief executive of Jay-Z Roc Nation and former CEO of the Brooklyn Nets, was named Big 12 commissioner on Wednesday, another out-of-the-box hire at a major conference amid the rapidly changing landscape of college athletics.
Yormark succeeded Bob Boulsby, who came to the league ten years ago after serving as athletic director at Stanford, Iowa and Northern Iowa.
Jormark’s story isn’t related to college athletics, but it could play an interesting role for a conference on earnings issues with impending departures from Oklahoma and Texas, accommodating as athletes cash in on exploiting their fame.
Jormark is expected to kick off on August 1, but will most likely make his first public appearance at Big 12 football media days in the Dallas area on July 13-14.
“I’m here to listen, learn, find ways to add value, add resources, and try to help shed light on the importance of college athletics,” Jormark said. âI look forward to using my experience and connections, along with our presidents, chancellors and sporting directors, to shape the future of the Big 12 brand and highlight our collective strengths.â
Jormark’s hiring is similar to Pac-12’s choice as commissioner last year – former MGM Resorts International executive George Klyavkov, who also had extensive digital media experience.
The biggest problem looming for Yorkmark is a new media rights deal without the big names Sooners and Longhorns. The multibillion-dollar TV deal with ESPN and Fox Sports expires after the 2024-25 school year, when Oklahoma and Texas join the Southeastern Conference if they haven’t already moved before then.
Within weeks of OU and Texas accepting invitations from the SEC, the big 12 expanded to include BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston. It could be a 14-team league within two years if the Sooners and Longhorns don’t leave sooner.
Jormark joined marketing agency Jay-Z in 2019 as co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified, which handles licensing and branding. In January, the 55-year-old was named chief operating officer of the company.
Prior to Roc Nation, Jormark spent almost 15 years with the Nets, leading the club’s move from New Jersey and the construction of the Barclays Center. Jormark left the Nets after Joseph Tsai bought a majority stake in 2019.
Jormark worked for NASCAR before the Nets, overseeing a $750 million deal with Nextel Communications to naming the circuit’s premier racing series.
“Brett is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable executives in sports and entertainment,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “His years of experience, tireless work ethic and strong industry relationships will be of immense value to the Big 12, its schools and fans.”
Yorkmark joins the Big 12 at a time of uncertainty, though not as dire as it was when Bolsby came to power. Bowlsby, 70, is retiring but plans to move to a temporary position before his contract expires in 2025.
In 2012, the league ended a two-year period in which it lost four schools to three other conferences and at times found itself on the brink of collapse. The Big 12 eventually became a 10-team league with the addition of TCU and West Virginia, and landed a lucrative media deal shortly after Bolsby’s hiring.
The Big 12 had enjoyed relative stability for nearly a decade until a stunning player from Oklahoma and Texas last summer. Now the conference must contend with the notion that the loss of the Sooners and Longhorns has pushed it down a notch below other Power Five conferences.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Kentucky coach Kira Elsie says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.
The 6-foot, 4-year-old mail carrier learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received different opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior coach Courtney Jones said in a press release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.
Elsie said that Herron “is the epitome of a warrior” and everyone is grateful to be on the other side of the player’s operation. Herron is expected to return to campus early next month and continue rehab until she is allowed to return to normal activities.
âHer will and determination to eventually get back on the court is inspiring and it is this attitude towards the game that makes her the perfect fit for our program,â Elsie said in a press release. âWe are so excited to have Tionna back in our dressing room; it’s not the same without our whole team.”
Herron moved to Kentucky during the early signing period last fall, is rated a four-star prospect and is among the top 70 players in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference tournament and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan. Emony Bates, a former basketball prodigy who moved to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, has been charged with two felony charges after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.
Bates, 18, was unable to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a gun was found during a search, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.
Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the car and gun did not belong to Bates.
âI hope people can hold back on judgment and understand that there is a benefit of the doubt,â Haney said. âIt was not his car. It wasn’t his gun. â¦ We are still gathering facts.â
Bates was charged with concealed carry and altering the markings on firearms. He was released after his lawyer pleaded not guilty. The next hearing in the Bates case will take place on October 6.
âThis is his first run-in with the law,â Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”
Less than a month ago, the 6-foot Bates moved to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points per game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.
“We are aware of the situation with one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to collect more details and will provide additional comments when more information becomes available.”
Bates was the first sophomore to win the 2020 high school basketball Gatorade National Player of the Year award, defeating Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Last year, Detroit selected Cunningham with the first overall pick, two picks before the Clevelands took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.
Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago but later backed out and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, which ended 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed most of the season with a back injury before appearing in two games in the NCAA Tournament in Memphis.
In 2019, as a freshman in high school, the slender and experienced quarterback led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan Division I Player of the Year by the Associated Press. His second season was interrupted by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy in his junior year, his last year of high school.
STORRS, Connecticut. On Thursday, UConn announced that it had agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination lawsuits related to his 2018 firing.
The money is in addition to more than $11.1 million in back wages that Ollie has already paid off after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was wrongfully fired under the school’s agreement with the professors’ union.
“I’m grateful that we were able to come to an agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. âMy time at UConn as a student athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am glad that this issue has now been completely and finally resolved.
Ollie, the former UConn point guard who led the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was fired after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him on his contract, citing multiple NCAA violations in terminating the deal.
In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on two-year probation, and Ollie was subject to individual sanctioning for violations that the NCAA determined occurred between 2013 and 2018. the purpose of firing Ollie “for a good reason”.
The school argued that Ollie’s misdeeds were serious and that his individual contract superseded these union protections.
Ollie’s lawyers argued that white coaches, including Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Jeno Oriemma, also committed NCAA violations but were not fired, and indicated that they planned to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
The school and Ollie said in a joint statement on Thursday that they have settled the matter “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”
Both sides declined to comment further.
Ollie, who has faced three years of NCAA restrictions on becoming a college basketball coach again, currently coaches the Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top non-college prospects for the pros.
TUCSON, Arizona. – Atlanta Dream guard Ari McDonald returns to Arizona to work under coach Adiya Barnes.
The school announced that McDonald would be recruiting director, continuing his commitment to the WNBA. She will oversee all recruitment logistics, assist with campus visits, and manage recruitment information and social media content in Arizona.
McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after moving from Washington to…