Gonzaga a lock to join the Mountain West?
A recent report mentions MW presidents may have been ready to vote on a Gonzaga invtitation during the MW basketball tournament
Zags invitation independent of BYU
A recent report by Mark Ziegler of the San Diego Union-Tribune discusses how far along the negotiations between the Mountain West Conference and Gonzaga University actually are. Ziegler thinks the talks are much further along than either party is publicly discussing.
When asked about the situation, MW commissioner Craig Thompson admitted to mutual interest and then backtracked to express the discussions as “exploratory.”
I would doubt that it’s beyond exploratory if he’s willing to talk about it publicly with reports that the move could happen as soon as next season. Ziegler even mentions that he has a source that believes the conference presidents were ready to vote on Gonzaga’s inclusion this week. They have instead pushed the meeting back until early April.
Ziegler mentions that the Mountain West is negotiating “exclusively” with Gonzaga and that BYU would be a different deal. While BYU would be a valuable member for MW hoops, there is no need for the conference to rush into a deal without showing the Cougars what life might look like as member of a Gonzaga-less WCC.
The primary Mountain West relationship with BYU is football and if the Cougars are not interested in joining the conference as a full member, there is no reason for the MW to rush into any decision. BYU has far more to lose keeping their Olympic sports in the WCC without Gonzaga than the MW would gain by adding a football-less BYU.
I would love to eventually see a deal that returns BYU to the Mountain West. While they have always struggled to be a happy conference member, they have many rivalries renewing those would be incredible if the BYU administration can play nicely.
If they still think they are bigger than the MW, no hard feelings. They can enjoy their football independence and a chance at getting the WCC auto-bid and the 14 seed in the NCAA tournament that would follow for basketball.