Conference Realignment Notebook: Reports – Gonzaga to be Discussed; OU & UT Deal Rejected

It’s news.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodds is reporting that the Big 12 presidents and athletic directors are meeting to discuss the addition of Gonzaga’s basketball program and to further discuss the possible exits of Oklahoma and Texas.

Dodds goes in to explain what Gonzaga would bring to the equation, i.e. the value of a basketball only powerhouse:

The attraction between the two parties is obvious. The Big 12 already is the best basketball league. With Gonzaga, it would get even stronger. Membership would insulate the Zags in case the tournament field grows and the likes of the WCC lose automatic qualifier status. That was speculated when the NCAA Transformation Committee released its recommendations last month.

In return for bringing its brand, Gonzaga would get security and access to NCAA Tournament revenue that surpassed $32 million in 2020. The WCC and Gonzaga have remained tight-lipped about what the league and program are currently making in media rights revenue.

“Any money they get [from the Big 12] has to be more than they’re making,” one industry insider said.

The other delicious note from Dodds’ article is that Oklahoma and Texas recently made an offer for an early exit from the Big 12 and was rejected, which is sort of funny from the standpoint that OU and UT lorded over these programs for a decade and now that script is flipped and for the Big 12, they’re probably going to force those two programs to pony up what they are owed or they’ll stick around until 2024.

There was speculation that Tuesday’s release of the 2023 Big 12 schedule was connected to the Texas-Oklahoma issue. In other words, nothing could happen until it was known when the programs would leave the league.

Not true. The league faced a deadline of early February from their rightsholders to get the schedule done. Fox and ESPN needed to start scheduling games themselves.

Meanwhile, time is running out for a potential early exit. As CBS Sports reported, Texas and Oklahoma want to leave early, but the complications are numerous.

The pair first made it known in August 2022 they wish to leave the Big 12 for the SEC at the conclusion of the 2023 season. For now, they are compelled by the current media rights deal to stay through the 2024 campaign before moving on.


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