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The Big 12 is thinking about Gonzaga again...but does the math math?

What changed over the last few weeks, and is it enough to make a change?

Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.

I’m back from New Orleans after an excellent Women Leaders Conference, and working my way through all the emails I didn’t have time to respond to because I shooting interviews and eating fried alligator. Not at the same time of course, but…maybe doing a Hot Ones But With Fried Alligator type interview segment could be in the works for next year? Remind me to pitch that one to my corporate overlords.

While I was chasing down administrators to talk about NIL, governance policies, mentorship, and other big topics, the rest of the college sports industry refused to just be cool for a few minutes. Conference realignment rumors are back.

Seth Davis of The Messenger reported earlier this week that the Big 12 has re-engaged conversations with Gonzaga. His reporting has been confirmed by the Action Network and other outlets. The gist of the update, via Davis:

Gonzaga and the Big 12 have resumed top-level discussions about the possibility of the school joining the conference in all sports, perhaps as early as next year, multiple sources told The Messenger.

Despite those logistical issues, Yormark received permission from the Big 12 presidents to continue negotiations. He also has an option of reaching an agreement with Gonzaga that would bring the school on board in 2025.

Brett McMurphy at the Action Report added:

A decision on Gonzaga could come quickly, within the next two weeks, a source said. A key component is that Gonzaga could be willing to accept less revenue at the outset of joining the Big 12 — similar to SMU joining the ACC — before the Bulldogs would eventually receive full basketball revenue shares, a source said.

All of this comes as a little bit of a surprise since Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark stated back in August that “I think we’re done for now” with additional expansion. After all, the league just added Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah, and any league office professional or AD would tell you that onboarding new members is a significant logistical task.

So why look at adding more teams now? What changed from the summer, what are the potential obstacles to the deal, and does the math actually math?

After making a few calls and reading all I could, here’s what I’m thinking right now:

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