Gonzaga’s athletic director met in individual with the Big 12 commissioner final week as aspect of broader discussions about the Zags joining the Big 12, sources told ESPN. The discussions are aspect of the possibility of a seismic move of the basketball powerhouse leaving the West Coast Conference for a energy conference.
Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark met with Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford at the Hyatt in Frisco, Texas, even though the Zags had been in the Dallas region to play Tennessee in a scrimmage, according to sources.
The move backs up Yormark’s promises of the Big 12 to be aggressive and “open for business enterprise,” and it could finish up shifting the landscape of college basketball.
Sources indicate that Gonzaga has been exploring its conference alternatives, as it has emerged as a single of the premier basketball applications in the nation. Both the Pac-12 and the Big East have been engaged with Gonzaga, according to sources, but the extent of these conversations is uncertain.
Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference, a mid-significant conference it has regularly dominated as it has grown into a single of the major applications in the sport. The college has been transparent with the WCC about its conversations.
The Big 12 targeting Gonzaga as a prospective addition to bolster its basketball is not a surprise, as the conference has been regarded in current seasons as the major basketball league in the nation. The Big 12 boasts the previous two men’s basketball national champions — Kansas and Baylor — and was an overtime loss by Texas Tech in 2019 from possessing 3 consecutive NCAA champions.
The addition of Gonzaga to the Big 12 would be a huge shift in the landscape, as it would perpetuate the Big 12’s reputation atop the sport. Gonzaga’s men’s basketball system played in the national title game in 2017 and 2021. Gonzaga has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament in 4 of the previous 5 years.
Yormark has been open about the league’s need to expand. He has spoken openly about adding a fourth time zone and applications with national cachet. The Big 12 and its tv partners, ESPN and Fox, are close to agreement on a six-year extension that contains a considerable spend raise. How any prospective payout would trickle down to a college devoid of football is uncertain, but the notion of Gonzaga playing Kansas, Baylor, BYU and Texas Tech in basketball league play would be eye-catching to tv partners.
The notion of Gonzaga potentially joining the Big 12 was brought up by the conference with its tv partners in a cursory manner in conversations about the league’s new tv deal lately. But the prospective addition had absolutely nothing to do with the Big 12’s final deal.
“It was hinted at,” stated a individual familiar with the Big 12 deal. “It came up in a quiet manner. It’s a good, but it really is not a economic game-changer.”