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WCC monitoring conference shuffle

The West Coast Conference, like a lot of folks across the country, is watching the evolving conference landscape with a keen eye. Football and television dollars are driving what many believe will be widespread shakeups to the memberships of conferences.

Conference realignment was discussed at the just-concluded WCC meetings “as far as what we know of what is going on and what effect it would have on the WCC as a whole and any individual school,” Gonzaga A.D. Mike Roth said. “It’s really difficult to say. We’re not football schools (only USD offers football). The strange part is if the Big 12 goes away, there’s a void in the BCS. Who steps into that void? If the Pac-10 picks up six out of the Big 12 and two others go to the Big 10, what does the SEC do then? What happens to the Mountain West? Does it move into a position of power?”

Read on for more of Roth's thoughts.

There are numerous unknowns, including how the conference shuffling will impact scheduling. Gonzaga basketball routinely plays foes from the so-called power conferences (Pac-10, Big 12, SEC, ACC, Big 10 and Big East). If the Pac-10 goes to 16 schools, “then what does it do to the relationship with non-conference scheduling, and not just in the sport of basketball because all of our sports play against the Pac-10. Do they have fewer opportunities to schedule?”

GU has three games left in a four-game series with Illinois. The Zags have games lined up with Memphis, Michigan State and Wake Forest. They play WSU annually and faced Arizona two years ago. The list goes on and on. Baylor is expected to be on Gonzaga’s schedule the next two years.

“It’s an unknown,” Roth said. "Interesting times, it will be interesting to see how it shakes out."

Roth said the WCC didn’t broach the topic of its own expansion. "The door is still open, it’s never been closed, but we literally didn’t spend any time discussing it at all,” he said.

Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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