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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Report hints at ‘growing mutual interest’ between Gonzaga, Big 12 Conference

Nov. 16, 2022 Updated Wed., Nov. 16, 2022 at 10:27 p.m.

Gonzaga Athletic Director Chris Sandiford watches GU face the Texas Longhorns during the second half of a college basketball game on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in the Moody Center in Austin, TX. Texas won the game 93-74.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Athletic Director Chris Sandiford watches GU face the Texas Longhorns during the second half of a college basketball game on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in the Moody Center in Austin, TX. Texas won the game 93-74. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

AUSTIN, Texas – Interest between the Big 12 Conference and Gonzaga has reportedly heightened since representatives from both parties met in Frisco, Texas, last month.

Big 12 country served as the backdrop for another encounter between the conference’s commissioner, Brett Yormark, and Gonzaga Athletic Director Chris Standiford, who spoke while attending an event in Austin, Texas, before Wednesday’s game between the second-ranked Zags and 11th-ranked Texas at the Moody Center.

During the first half of Gonzaga-Texas, Brett McMurphy of the Action Network reported there is “growing mutual interest” between the Bulldogs and Big 12 following a second “meeting” between Standiford and Yormark.

Standiford confirmed to The Spokesman-Review he spoke with Yormark about a variety of topics while both were attending the same pregame event in Austin. Gonzaga’s AD estimated approximately 500 people were at the event and didn’t suggest their meeting had been previously arranged.

The first reported discussions between Standiford and Yormark about Gonzaga possibly joining the Big 12 took place in the Dallas area while the Bulldogs were in Frisco to play Tennessee in an exhibition game on Oct. 28.

A source told the S-R on Wednesday Gonzaga continues to explore conference realignment options, including a potential move to the Big 12. The Bulldogs have also had discussions with the Big East and Pac-12, according to various reports.

Wednesday’s game against Texas could be the first of three for Gonzaga against a Big 12 opponent during the nonconference schedule. The Bulldogs may face West Virginia in the second round of next week’s Phil Knight Invitational in Portland and will play Baylor on Dec. 2 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Asked about talks between Gonzaga and the Big 12 following Wednesday’s game, Bulldogs coach Mark Few said, “I’m just focused on getting this team ready to play the next game. I’m not really dwelling on any of that stuff. Sorry.”

Regarding conference realignment, Standiford told the S-R earlier this month, “We talk to a lot of people because it’s such a dynamic time. There’s so many different elements in college sports that everybody’s trying to figure out what the ecosystem is going to look like through these TV contract changes.”

Few, who’s led the Bulldogs to seven straight Sweet 16 appearances and two of the past five national championships games, said interest in his program from high-major conferences is flattering.

“At the end of the day, like I’ve always said, we’re going to do what’s best for Gonzaga,” Few said after an exhibition game against Warner Pacific. “So we just have to analyze everything and where we’ve been and what we’ve done so far has been great. Let all the chatter happen and we’ll do what we’ve got to do.”

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