Yormark: Big 12 working to keep tournament in Kansas City through 2031; more from media day

photo by: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark addresses the media during the NCAA college Big 12 women's basketball media day Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City, Mo. — Big 12 Conference Commissioner Brett Yormark preemptively declined comment on his league’s hottest topic, expansion — other than to say that nothing else was imminent in that domain — but he still found a way deliver some intra-conference news at the podium Tuesday.

Opening the Big 12’s annual women’s basketball media day, Yormark said that the conference is working on a contract extension to keep its conference tournaments in Kansas City in the T-Mobile Center through 2031.

“While nothing is definitive at this point, we are excited by the prospect of calling Kansas City home for years to come,” Yormark said. “We hope to finalize this by the start of the basketball championships next spring.”

The women’s tournament will join the men’s tournament at T-Mobile Center at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season for the first time after previously taking place down the road at Municipal Auditorium.

Kansas City has been the most frequent site for the Big 12 men’s championships over the years, including every season since 2010. In June 2022, the conference previously extended its agreement with the venue for both championships through 2027.

For the men’s teams, the tournament will come following a slightly longer conference schedule in future years. Under the new 16-team Big 12 with Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah beginning in 2024-25, the women’s basketball conference schedule is expected to continue to consist of 18 games, while the men’s expands to 20.

“Ultimately it’s what the coaches were looking to do as far as the 18 (for women),” Yormark said. “You’re going to play three schools twice, 12 once, and there will be a bye week. That’s kind of where they settled. The men decided on a 20-game schedule.”

Yormark added that the women’s tournament starts earlier — a full five days earlier this season — which also puts a restriction on the duration of the women’s basketball league schedule.

Here’s more on what Yormark had to say Tuesday:

• Discussing the recent Independent Accountability Resolution Process ruling on Kansas men’s basketball, Yormark said he thought it was fair for all and that “the program’s been vindicated.”

• The conference is exploring some multimedia means of broadening the reach of basketball, including a weekly radio show on SiriusXM that will highlight women’s basketball and less publicized sports and potential “alternate broadcasts” for women’s basketball games on TV that will “appeal to a younger audience and further connect our conference to culture,” Yormark said. He referenced the NFL, in an apparent allusion to its Nickelodeon- and “Toy Story”-themed broadcasts.

• The Big 12 has a broader international strategy, but is focused on fleshing out its offerings in Mexico first. Beyond the upcoming KU-Houston basketball games in Mexico City in December 2024 and a future football bowl game in Monterrey beginning in 2026, Yormark reiterated that the conference continues to explore options in Mexico for baseball and women’s soccer.


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