Gonzaga Remaining In West Coast Conference
The Mountain West whiffed on the Zags
It’s an 11-team league for the Mountain West
After all the back-and-forth the Gonzaga Bulldogs have decided to remain in the West Coast Conference while shunning the overtures from the Mountain West.
Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh and athletics director Mike Roth got together and made a decision on Monday.
“Our decision is to remain in the WCC, where we’ve had a great relationship for 39 years going on 40,” Roth told The Spokane-Review. “We appreciate the Mountain West pursuing us. However, for a number of reasons, maintaining our status in the WCC is the right thing for Gonzaga University.”
The WCC made a lot of changes to keep Gonzaga happy, and most importantly in the league. Those changes included getting back pay from NCAA Tournament credits, an increased share in that money, more non-conference games to boost its RPI and mandates for all teams to up its out of league play.
“The WCC made decisions over the last couple months that are going to be very positive not just for Gonzaga but everyone in our league from the standpoint of opportunities,” Roth said.
This move was a smart one by Gonzaga who used its strength to get what it wanted, but it does not 100 percent close the door on these two sides meeting up down the road.
“We’ve completed all the discussions with the Mountain West at this point and time,” Roth said. “Could it resurface as part of the evaluation of the future? That’s a crystal ball I can’t look into.”
The reason it could resurface is because of the $7 million in tournament credits Gonzaga is still owed. Perhaps after a few years the loss of money might be worth it to make the move. Also, that buys the Zags a few years to see if the changes to the scheudle actually helps the league overall.
One large sticking point is that the majority of Mountain West games are on CBS Sports Network which is in few homes than the ESPN networks and most of Gonzaga’s games are on ESPN. A move to CBSSN was seen as a step down in exposure.
Perhaps these two sides could meet again and maybe if the Mountain West was smart they would try to get a few more basketball games on ESPN and maybe that would shift the tide for the Bulldogs to switch leagues.
So, for the time being the Mountain West will be an 11-team league.