Last week, a bombshell report surfaced that the Gonzaga Bulldogs were in discussions with the Big 12 about potentially joining the conference.
According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford met with Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark last week in person to discuss the possibility of joining the Big 12 Conference while the Zags basketball team was in the Dallas area to play Tennessee in a scrimmage.
However, the Big 12 might not be the only suitor that is looking to potentially add Gonzaga, and apparently, they are taking all phone calls.
According to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, the Big 12 is not the only conference “kicking the tires” on Gonzaga.
“Gonzaga’s talking to everybody right now,” a source told Dodd. “They’re looking at all their options. I think they’re interested in ensuring that they can protect themselves going forward. If you have the opportunity to go to the Pac-12 or Big 12, [you’ve got to do it.]”
Dodd notes that adding Gonzaga to the already-loaded Big 12 conference might be a winning move for ESPN, who owns the WCC rights and could shift money to the Big 12 if they were to add the Bulldogs, and then the WCC would then be comparable to a low major conference in terms of media rights value.
The Pac-12 might have a hard time matching the Big 12 in terms of bringing Gonzaga in because the overall value of their basketball media rights isn’t near what the Big 12 slate can offer. Better teams and better games means more money for all involved, and that plays in the Big 12’s favor.