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Report: Big 12 Talking With Gonzaga To Join Conference

Nov 2, 2022, 3:39 PM | Updated: 3:42 pm

Gonzaga, BYU...

BYU hosts Gonzaga for the last time at the Marriott Center as members of the West Coast Conference. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Big 12 Conference wants “additive” members with potential expansion moves. In the basketball world, there is no program that would be more “additive” than the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

The Big 12 is reportedly are in talks for a move that would add to the nation’s top basketball conference.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel dropped a bombshell report that Gonzaga has met in person with Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark about joining the Big 12.

From Thamel’s report:

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark met with Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford at the Hyatt in Frisco, Texas, while the Zags were in the Dallas area to play Tennessee in a scrimmage, according to sources.

Gonzaga doesn’t have a football program, but they are a national powerhouse in college basketball. A move to potentially add Gonzaga would make it clear that the Big 12 will remain the top basketball conference after Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC in 2025.

BYU will be joining the Big 12 on July 1, 2023. The Cougars have held a strong relationship with Gonzaga for years as league rivals in the West Coast Conference. BYU has been one of the few teams in the WCC that has caused the Zags an occasional slip-up. But, otherwise, the WCC has been Gonzaga’s world, and everyone else is just living in it.

Gonzaga has been active in pursuing conference realignment opportunities in the past. In 2018, the Zags had talks with the Mountain West Conference. Those conversations led to the WCC giving in to Gonzaga’s demands to have fewer conference games (16 instead of 18) and redistributing NCAA Tournament units to teams that compile the wins.

But after BYU announced its intentions to accept the Big 12’s invitation, many around college hoops have wondered what that move by BYU would mean for the Zags.

Thamel reported that Gonzaga has engaged in talks with not only the Big 12 but also the Pac-12 and Big East. It would be unorthodox for a power conference to add a university without a football program. But the Zags have reached blueblood status in the sport over the last two-plus decades.

If Gonzaga were added to the Big 12, the top four teams from last year’s KenPom ratings would all be in the conference. Those teams are Gonzaga, Houston, Kansas, and Baylor. Kansas won the National Championship last season and Baylor the year before that.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark has been open that he wants to get into the “fourth time zone” and make the Big 12 a “national” conference. But he has also said that he only wants members that are “additive” to his league.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Report: Big 12 Talking With Gonzaga To Join Conference