REPORT: Gonzaga in talks to join Big 12

According to a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Wednesday, college basketball powerhouse Gonzaga has reportedly entered talks about joining the Big 12 Conference.

The report follows a meeting between Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark and Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford, which is an indication of Yormark’s desire to expand the Big 12 nationally through any means possible.

The Big 12 spreading into the Pacific time zone in this manner would be significant as the nation’s best basketball conference would get even better. Gonzaga has played in a pair of national championship games in 2017 and 2021 along with being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five years.

The Bulldogs currently play in the West Coast Conference, a league they have either won or been co-champions of in each of the last 10 seasons.

The Big 12 has already backed up its standing as the best college basketball conference in America in recent years by boasting each of the last two national champions, Baylor and Kansas, while Texas Tech came one overtime period away from making it three straight in 2019.

Yormark has consistently voiced his desire to expand the league’s brand and has spoken openly about his desire to add a fourth time zone to the league’s footprint, which is already set to expand next year when Houston, BYU, Cincinnati and UCF join the league.

The league also agreed to a new media rights deal this past weekend that will increase member media rights payouts by nearly $10 million annually. Thamel says it is unclear at this time what impact a Gonzaga addition would have on those numbers, but he says “Gonzaga playing Kansas, Baylor, BYU and Texas Tech in league play would be attractive to television partners.”

Thamel said Gonzaga has had discussions with the Pac-12 and Big East, as well, but it is unclear how serious those talks have been.

It is also unclear to what capacity Gonzaga would be joining the league, as the Bulldogs do not field a football, but the Big 12 does have a past of welcoming in partial members, as they have with Missouri, South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Wyoming, Air Force and Utah Valley in men’s wrestling.

Stay tuned to Cyclone Fanatic for more on this developing story.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.