Mountain West confirms it has talked expansion with ... Gonzaga

(Patrick) #1

There was some discussion about this last night in the Game thread, but I’ll start a new thread here. Basically, the MWC saw what the AAC did with Wichita State and wants in on some of that sweet, sweet Tourney unit money. Idea would be to bring in Gonzaga and BYU (for all sports except for football).

As I said last night in the Game thread, if I’m the AAC, I go see if those schools would rather join our conference.

Gonzaga might not be alone, either. Thompson said BYU was not among the other schools that have contacted him about expansion, but several sources indicated that BYU — which went independent in football in 2011 and plays in the WCC in most other sports — would consider a return to the Mountain West at least in basketball if Gonzaga joins.

The issue is expected to be a topic when WCC athletic directors and presidents gather at the conference basketball tournament later this week in Las Vegas.

(gpropes) #2

I’ll believe that Gonzaga will leave for the MWC when it happens.

The real issue here is that Gonzaga is frustrated with the money and competition in the West Coast Conference. They bring in millions of dollars in NCAA tournament revenue, and have to share it equally. And other than St. Mary’s and BYU, the league is a giant vortex of suck, which kills Gonzaga’s RPI and other metrics.

I think Gonzaga will use the MWC threat to renegotiate the money it gets from the WCC, much like what Boise did to the MWC.

(Patrick) #3

In the end, I think you’re right. If Gonzaga can get a Boise State like deal from the WCC, makes no sense for them to leave.

I just don’t see the MWC offering that kind of deal to Gonzaga as a lot of them were/are unhappy with Boise State’s deal.

(Butch) #4

it’s ironic that since Boise State got its sweet deal that it has been virtually invisible on the national scene…

(Cougarpad) #5

The American needs to add UNLV, BYU, Colorado State, and San Diego State. This will improve basketball and football. For basketball can have a POD system to save programs on travel. In the basketball tournament can have a east and west coast bracket.

(Trent) #6

I highly doubt the Zags would be interested. For basketball it’s a good move, but they really prize their rowing teams. Who wants to take a women’s rowing team from Spokane to Hartford, Philly, or Orlando, when they have meets in Seattle, San Francisco, and LA? How about both men’s and women’s soccer, who each played one game east of the continental divide this year (Peoria and Denver, respectively)? They already play MWC schools regularly in all sports for non conference, so that makes sense for them, but we already have UCONN bitching about having to go to Tulsa and New Orleans, there’s no way Gonzaga would be happy going twice as far for the benefit of one team. It would eat up all the revenue from their only revenue sport.

(gpropes) #7

I agree. Boise and SDSU were joining the BE as football-only members. Their other sports would remain in conferences in that part of the country.

(@biged4heisman) #8

I like the move alot if just for hoop.

They can still fit a handful of their big WWC rivals like St Marys in OOC.

Boise to Spokane is an hour + flight

They are taking basically the same trips in CA & Utah.

The eastern trips would be some solid rivalries and while not close, aren’t horrible flights.
@3 hours to Colorado 4+ to New Mexico. 5+ to Laramie.
(Hawaii FB only)

(@biged4heisman) #9

Another angle & BYU in the mix?: Zags to Big East or MWC and take another with them?

"Is the Mountain West the best fit? That’s hard to say, not knowing how serious Gonzaga would be about trying something off-the-wall, like joining the Big East only for hoops, or whom the school would try to drag along if it leaves the WCC."

I would like BYU in the AAC for both all sports but back to MWC makes sense.

"But there’s no hiding the crowd size. The WCC is nothing like the MWC.

The return to crowds housed at arenas at UNLV, SDSU, New Mexico, Wyoming, Fresno State, Colorado State would be a major upgrade from embarrassing empty seats found in high school-sized gyms in the WCC."

"I have little doubt BYU’s players and fans would be more than anxious to embrace that part of their history again in the region. The best MWC basketball crowds are equal to or greater than the Pac-12, in my opinion.

In 2017, BYU ranked No. 14 in the NCAA in basketball attendance, just ahead of No. 15 Arizona. SDSU was No. 25, just ahead of Utah at No. 26. New Mexico ranked 28th among the top 30."

(Dan) #10

The Wichita State add has not been a slam dunk for the conference in terms of additional tournament bids. We’re looking at three barring a miracle run in the conference tournament. That’s last year plus Shockers and we replace SMU. That’s not enough. I was hoping for four but a fourth team never rose from the pack. This is important for us because we will be back on the bubble someday and UCONN and Memphis are sleeping giants. It’s a matter of time before they’re good again.

The add has been good for the conference overall no doubt but the AAC needs more parity to take advantage of it. SMU and UCF had some seriously unlucky injury issues as well which is no one’s fault and contributed to league strength. We’ll see what next year brings.


As important as number of bids, if not more, is wins in the tournament. 4 wins from 2 bids makes more money and gets more exposure than 3 bids all losing in the 1st round.

WSU has had a recent history of making it past the 1st round, even making the Sweet 16 and Final 4 in the last 5 years. Lets hope they continue that and we contribute too

(Dan) #12

One thing I do like about these adds is it potentially steals a bid or two from the bubble teams of the P5. The M Valley didn’t lose their auto bid because their best team left so that extra bid that we got has to come from an at large. So I’d be in favor of this mwc add from that numbers perspective.

(Ben B) #13

If SMU hand’t lost that one player to injury I think they would be an NCAA bid. They collapsed after his injury.

(Patrick) #14

SMU lost their top 2 players in Milton and Foster. It would basically be like us losing Gray and Devin Davis. As good as our depth is, we’d probably be looking at the NIT right about now.

UCF lost their big tree, Tacko Fall, one of their better players went out before their season, Dawkins’ son, and BJ Taylor missed most of the season.

Both of those teams were bubble teams prior to the injuries. AAC just had some bad luck this year, but it probably helped us out a bit considering we only played UCF at their place and we got both games with SMU after the injuries.

Do we need Memphis and UCONN to get better…yes, but a big need is getting ECU and USF respectable again. Both have RPIs in the 300s which is dragging the entire conference down.

(Patrick) #15

Solid breakdown of the situation and what it might mean for BYU as well

How far along are discussions?
Further than you think.

Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth keeps saying he is always surveying the college sports landscape and this is just part of that, nothing more. And Thompson characterized the talks as “exploratory.”

That might be a matter of semantics. One source said they are so far along that Mountain West presidents hoped to vote on Gonzaga’s inclusion as early as this week when they meet at the conference basketball tournament in Las Vegas. It has since been pushed back until early April, after the Final Four.

(Patrick) #16

Hmmm…may not be just for basketball now.

New Mexico State Chancellor:

While at the WAC Basketball Tournament, I met with the Presidents and Athletic Directors of the WAC schools to discuss business as well as the challenges facing the Conference regarding membership. The WAC is initiating an aggressive membership campaign. Commissioner Jeff Hurd said “something was going to happen and happen soon” regarding conference alignments and realignments. One rumor was the Mountain West would become a 16-member conference with two-8 member divisions. NMSU could come into play as a new member, along with UTEP. Another uncertainty facing athletics is the ongoing investigation of NCAA basketball violations. There is also a special committee analyzing the “transfer” issue in collegiate basketball.


I seem to remember they tried this.

(Jimmy Morris) #18

I really didn’t blame Boise State for passing on that deal. They were going to be a top 3 team every year but only get the same share as everyone else while getting no benefit from the Big East basketball money.

(@biged4heisman) #19

(Patrick) #20

Hmmmm…there sure is a lot of talk going on for this. Kind of out of the ordinary to see both sides basically saying that talks are occurring out in the open.

Did notice that they kind of buried that Gonzaga had also been talking to at least one other conference and that it was presumed to be the AAC and/or Big East. Wonder if all of this talk is to get someone else to the table.