The Big 12 Conference has opened its doors to several programs to expand during this busy and tumultuous off-season of realignment. But pump the brakes if you think they’re going to make any more add-ons, at least when it comes to Gonzaga and UConn.
The Bulldogs and Huskies’ basketball profiles would enhance a loaded conference in that sport. But Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark stopped short of bringing the Zags and Huskies in, even as they’ve swelled up this off-season realignment period.
Yormark admitted on the Marchand & Ourand Sports Media podcast that he conversed with the two schools. But, “unfortunately, things didn’t work out,” Yormark said. “Those conversations are no longer.”
Yormark: "I did have conversations with UConn and Gonzaga. And unfortunately, things didn't work out…Those conversations are no longer."
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 16, 2023
Yormark said that he admires both programs and that they’re each “fantastic for all the right reasons.” But as of now, the Big 12 is focused on adding Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah. The realignment cycle brought those schools in from the Pac-12, which is in dire straits after Oregon and Washington also fled the conference this off-season.
Superconferences are still on the horizon even after the Big 12’s denial of UConn and Gonzaga. Just because it didn’t happen now doesn’t mean that it can’t happen down the line. Every realignment piece that’s fallen into place since the early 2010s has shown that. Although the Huskies seem comfortable in the Big East, they clearly must feel like their profile could be expanded outside of it. That feels very cyclical in a way, considering how things broke down the first time they left the Big East, but nevertheless. For Gonzaga, they’re lesser on the map for everything that isn’t men’s basketball, so they may find themselves in complicated matters of their own.
The CFB world reacted to the Big 12 realignment update.
This is great stuff. Must listen for Big 12 fans. https://t.co/N1mmuEYEIg
— John Kurtz (@jlkurtz) August 16, 2023
.@Big12Conference commish Brett Yormark says he's no longer considering Gonzaga and UConn in expansion because the Big 12 landed its "dream scenario" of the four corner schools. Really good pod from Andrew and @Ourand_SBJ. https://t.co/WO7PLWjkEt
— Matt Mosley (@mattmosley) August 16, 2023
The UConn-Gonzaga rumors always seemed like a way to create a sense of urgency for the 4 corner schools. https://t.co/Bk9bkPyMJR
— DOC (@DearOldCrimson) August 16, 2023
Music to my ears https://t.co/EAw9zxo34C
— Bearcat Nation (@CincyBearcats) August 16, 2023