According to a report from Seth Davis of The Messenger, Brett Yormark and the Big 12 Conference may not be done with conference expansion after all.
Davis says that several sources have told him that over the past couple of weeks, “Yormark has conducted several top-level conversations and negotiations with Gonzaga about that school joining the Big 12, possibly as early as 2024.”
“Yormark presented his case at last week’s Big 12 meetings in Dallas to the league’s athletic directors and presidents,” Davis says. “He encountered a little bit of skepticism, particularly about the timing of that kind of move, but he did receive permission from the president to continue those negotiations in hopes of bolstering the league’s basketball profile so that it can get more money from its next rights deal with a potential basketball-only package.”
With the Big 12 already adding Houston to its ranks this season and Arizona due to join the league in 2024-25, the addition of Gonzaga would make this conference truly incredible in terms of basketball prowess.
With Yormark taking this to school presidents and getting approval, the ball is already rolling toward this actually happening, which means that there could be another new member heading to the conference soon.
In conjunction with Davis’ report, Action Network’s Brett McMurphy says that the Zags could accept less revenue initially to make the deal work, just as SMU did in order to join the ACC. Additionally, McMurphy says that a decision could come quickly, within the next two weeks even.
With men’s basketball being the obvious big get, Gonzaga would also join the Big 12 in baseball, women’s soccer, volleyball, and men’s and women’s tennis, a source told McMurphy.
After the Big 12 added Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah this summer, Commissioner Yormark said that the conference was done expanding.
“Right now, we’re done,” Yormark said in August. “We had a strategy and effectively we’ve been able to execute it. Initially, I wasn’t sure if we’d grow to 14 or 16 (schools). I think 16 was kind of a dream scenario.”
With an ever-changing landscape, if leagues aren’t progressing, they’re dying. After Cal, Stanford, and SMU joined the ACC and took less money to do so, it appears that Yormark might add as basketball powerhouse by doing just the same thing.