The Big 12’s quest for further expansion may have some kinks to work out, but Gonzaga appears to have a good chance of entering the conference if it wants to.
Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark has “overwhelming support” from the majority of school presidents and athletic directors in his effort to add Gonzaga, a source told Front Office Sports. The presidents have given Yormark permission to fully vet Gonzaga’s addition and pursue it in greater detail.
This week, news leaked that the Big 12 and Gonzaga had resumed talks, which initially began in 2022, for the Bulldogs to be the 17th member of the Big 12 for all sports except football. But then USA Today reported that there was some internal pushback among several Big 12 administrators about adding another high-level men’s basketball program.
The addition would strengthen an already powerful basketball conference that’s home to recent national champions Kansas and Baylor.
That pushback is coming from a few athletic directors, the same source tells FOS. The school presidents would ultimately be the ones to vote on the matter.
Adding a 17th school — Gonzaga or any other — would almost certainly mean the Big 12 would seek to bring on a second new school to get to an even 18. Connecticut was also in discussions to join the Big 12 during the most recent phase of realignment.
Next season, the Big Ten is growing to 18 schools for all sports, including football, with the additions of Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington.