Amid the continued conference realignment that is shaking up the college football landscape, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark denied reports that he met with Memphis officials about a possible move for the school to the Big 12, while speaking to ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Friday.
“I’ve never met with anyone at Memphis about adding them to the Big 12, nor have I been on campus,” Yormark said.
Reports circulated this week that Yormark and fellow Big 12 officials made an under the radar visit to Memphis to discuss a potential realignment move that would bring the Tigers to the conference.
The Tigers would reportedly welcome the move if the opportunity ever presented itself, according to Jason Munz of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, but apparently that time is not now.
Talks about a potential move for Memphis out of the AAC come on the heels of the state’s general assembly approving funding for a sports stadium initiative downtown. A portion of the $350 million funding would go toward renovations of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, the home of the Tigers.
When the approval of funding was announced last month, Tigers athletic director Laird Veatch explained the impact it could have on the perception of Memphis and its commitment to the football program.
“It got a lot of buzz,” Veatch said at the time, per the Commercial Appeal. “Because there’s a difference between talking about a vision and, ‘Hey, the money is there and it is happening and people in our city and our state recognize the importance of it and they’re willing to invest.’ It raised some eyebrows, like, ‘Hey [Memphis is] serious. They’re doing everything they can.”
It remains to be seen what the future holds for Memphis athletics, but it’s clear that the school will have its say in its place in conference realignment sooner rather than later.