ESPN’s Pete Thamel is reporting that his sources say Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford and Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark spent time discussing potential Gonzaga membership in the conference during a Dallas-area meeting last week.
The sources say the meeting at a Frisco hotel took place while Gonzaga was in the area to play Tennessee in a closed scrimmage ahead of the start of the new season.
Gonzaga has dominated the West Coast Conference in basketball for the past two decades, finding it difficult to find actual challenges in the mostly private church school loop. The addition of BYU to the WCC a few years back improved the conference’s cache some, but the bottom half of the conference remains a drag to Gonzaga’s strength-of-schedule and other analytics utilized for setting up the field for the NCAA Tournament.
The Big 12, meanwhile, has the last two men’s national champions in basketball and nearly had Texas Tech as a third winner in 2019.
Thamel says the topic was broached by the Big 12’s TV partners as the conference was renegotiating its current contracts. The draw of Gonzaga would add western eyeballs as Yormark has been up front about wanting the conference to have schools in all four time zones to maximize exposure.