After weeks of speculation and talks that Gonzaga would bolt to the Mountain West Conference, MWC Commissioner Craig Thomson told the Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Tribune that Gonzaga to the MWC “doesn’t look promising.”
“For next season, it doesn’t look promising (of Gonzaga joining MWC),” Thompson said shortly before Loyola Chicago and Michigan tipped off in the first semifinal at the Alamodome. “I’d put it like this: Today is today, none of us can predict tomorrow.”
The WCC’s recent announcements of scheduling changes (18 to 16 conference games) and tourney changes (top two seeds get byes to semifinals) no doubt factored into Gonzaga’s decision to stay in the WCC, for now.
Revenue is also playing a big factor in Gonzaga staying put in the WCC. Zeigler reports that Gonzaga will likely get a larger chunk of the WCC’s ESPN contract money and a larger chunk of the NCAA tournament monetary shares. NCAA tourney shares have been split equally among the WCC members, despite Gonzaga being the primary source of that revenue.
Overall, this is good news for the WCC and for BYU. Had Gonzaga left to the MWC, BYU would be in a position where they would likely have to win the WCC tournament each year in order to qualify for the NCAA tournament, something BYU hasn’t done since 2001.
Gonzaga’s WCC membership also means BYU will get millions of extra dollars for Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament success; each conference member receives roughly $270k each year for every NCAA game a member of their conference participates in.
Recruiting may have also taken a hit in the long run with BYU being in a less attractive conference.
You can read the entire San Diego Tribune report here.