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NFL, Big 12 Head to Texas to Reinvent College Football Pro Days

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Starting in 2024, the Big 12 will take over the Dallas Cowboys’ campus in Frisco, Texas for an all-new intraconference Pro Day televised on NFL Network.

As part of the Big 12’s push to evolve and innovate amid the ever-shifting landscape of college athletics, the conference and the NFL announced a partnership Wednesday to launch a new Big 12 Pro Day in 2024. The event will mark the first time that conference has put together a Pro Day for all of its schools. The action kicks off next year at the Ford Center at “The Star,” the official campus of the Dallas Cowboys in Frisco, Texas.

In some ways, the Big 12 Pro Day will share similarities with the NFL Scouting Combine, from measurables and medical assessments to popular skills benchmarks like the 40-yard dash, bench press, and vertical jump. NFL Network will televise the event, and the Big 12 will additionally host a fan festival outside of the venue and a job fair for Big 12 football athletes attended by the Big 12 Business Advisory Board and several partner companies.

“The first-of-its-kind Big 12 Pro Day will provide our student-athletes an opportunity to showcase their talent and skill as they turn their NFL dreams into reality,” Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said in a release. “Through this partnership with the NFL, Big 12 student-athletes will receive national media exposure across NFL Network and NFL Media platforms. We are thrilled to partner with the NFL to host this Pro Day, and we look forward to creating a special experience for our student-athletes.”

Yormark had previously told Boardroom in the fall of 2022 that the conference needed a greater commitment to storytelling in order to connect with a younger audience on a more national and culturally relevant level. A week after that conversation, the conference announced a partnership with Translation, the independent creative agency behind advertising and marketing spots for the NBA’s 75th anniversary and Beats By Dre.

In March, the Big 12 leveled up its entertainment and fan experience offerings at last week’s men’s and women’s Big 12 Basketball Championships, which included Fat Joe and “DJ Diesel,” a.k.a. Shaquille O’Neal, performing on Saturday night. Other partners the conference has linked up in order to reimagine its brand include the NWSL‘s Kansas City Current, Therabody, and A Bathing Ape (BAPE).

As for the NFL, one of the league’s signature offseason events has long been the NFL Combine, but as an invite-only event, plenty of athletes are only able to rely on their school’s official Pro Day to get exposure ahead of the NFL Draft. A conference-wide program eliminates some key challenges in play regarding visibility and resources, permitting NFL Scouts to watch countless players all in one place just like the Combine promises.

As NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent Sr. added in a news release:

“The Big 12 unified approach will provide world-class maximum exposure, mentorship, and development opportunities for potential future prospects pulling on the vast resources of these Big 12 institutions. From state-of-the-art medical and talent evaluations to maximized media exposure and classroom professional development, these future leaders will experience a dignified, respectful, and comprehensive assessment.”

About The Author
Randall Williams
Randall Williams
Randall Williams is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom specializing in sports business and music. He previously worked for Sportico, Andscape and Bloomberg. His byline has also been syndicated in the Boston Globe and Time Magazine. Williams' notable profile features include NFL Executive VP Troy Vincent, Dreamville co-founder Ibrahim Hamad, BMX biker Nigel Sylvester, and both Shedeur and Shilo Sanders. Randall, a graduate of "The Real HU" -- Hampton University — is most proud of scooping Howard University joining Jordan Brand nearly three months before the official announcement.