Exploring The Reasons That Led To Gonzaga Staying In The West Coast Conference
Why did Gonzaga opt to remain in the WCC over joining the Mountain West Conference?
Zags and Mark Few run the WCC more than ever before
Color me surprised that Gonzaga is opting to stay in the West Coast Conference over membership in the Mountain West Conference.
From the outside looking in, the Mountain West Conference would be a step up in quality of opposition for Gonzaga. It would also appear that the MWC would give the Zags more margin for error to receive better seeds in the NCAA Tournament because they wouldn’t face as many sub-200 RPI teams within their conference.
That is all a moot point now because the Zags are staying put in the West Coast Conference where they will be entering their 40th season in the league this fall. What were the reasons that ultimately led them to stay in the WCC?
WCC Gave Gonzaga Concessions
- 16-game conference schedule
- More NCAA Tournament units
- Byes in WCC Tournament till Semifinal round
Gonzaga has wanted concessions like these from the West Coast Conferences for years. Now the Zags are getting it. Yes, Gonzaga deserves everything they get as they carry the league, but remind me when giving concessions and additional benefits to only one member has ever worked in a conference? But the WCC had to make this deal because the possibility of losing Gonzaga would be a blow to the conference that they possibly couldn’t overcome.
The byes in the WCC Tournament until the semifinal round give the Zags one less terrible RPI team to hurt their future tournament resumes.
Every BYU fan knows how terrible television coverage is within the Mountain West Conference. Long gone are the days of Big Monday’s at 10 p.m. on ESPN with Bob Carpenter and Jimmy Dykes. Now the Mountain West Conference is a fixture on CBS Sports Network with late-night tips that no one around the country ever sees or pays attention to.
Current TV contracts for the WCC and the Mountain West Conference are both up in 2019. Will be interesting if Gonzaga’s tune changes on possibly leaving the WCC if the Mountain West can acquire more broadcasts from ESPN. But don’t expect MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson to give the Zags a sweetheart deal like the MWC did for Boise State in football.
Mandatory scheduling requirements for rest of the West Coast Conference
Requiring members of the West Coast Conference to boost their non-conference schedule is a positive for the league. BYU is already actively seeking quality games in the out of conference schedule but Randy Bennett and Saint Mary’s have shown resistance in leaving the state of California before league play. It’s hurt the Gaels and it has ultimately hurt the WCC. Requiring teams to participate in MTE (Multiple Team Events) is a positive and was appealing to the Zags.
Mark Few wanted to stay put
Mark Few runs Gonzaga athletics and he runs the West Coast Conference. The WCC hired a new commissioner, but the person who runs the WCC will be Mark Few and he ultimately wanted to stay in the WCC after these concessions were given. Had the concessions not been made, we’d be looking at Gonzaga in the Mountain West Conference right now.
Mark Zeigler from the San Diego Union-Tribune spoke with Ben Criddle on ESPN 960 AM on Monday discussing this topic in greater depth. Give it a listen.