College Basketball
Big 12 Commissioner: We're not adding UConn, Gonzaga
College Basketball

Big 12 Commissioner: We're not adding UConn, Gonzaga

Updated Aug. 16, 2023 3:40 p.m. ET

The Big 12 has been a catalyst in the realignment of college sports over the last two years, but it appears that at least for now, it's no longer looking to expand.

In a podcast interview on Wednesday, Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark revealed that he had discussed adding basketball powers UConn and Gonzaga to the conference, but that a deal wasn't struck.

"I did have conversations with UConn and Gonzaga, and unfortunately, things didn't work out, only because the dream scenario unfolded for us, so those conversations are no longer," Yormark said. "I'm a big admirer of both of those programs. They're fantastic for all the right reasons, but right now I'm focused on the transition of those four [new schools] in. And also how do I leverage the fact that I'm now a 16-team league in 10 states with 90 million people in four different time zones."

The "dream scenario" Yormark was referring to is the Big 12's addition of Pac-12 schools Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah for the 2024-25 college sports season. 

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In addition, the conference is adding BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF this season — moves that were made in response to the decision of Big 12 flagship programs Oklahoma and Texas to leave for the SEC after the 2023-24 college year.

The Big Ten has also expanded, adding Pac-12 schools Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington in 2024, while the future of the remaining four Pac-12 schools (California, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington State) is in limbo.

The UConn men's basketball program won the NCAA Tournament this past season, while the women's basketball program has won 10 championships since 2000 and 11 since 1995. On the football side, UConn is an independent.

Gonzaga doesn't have a football program, but has highly competitive men's and women's basketball programs that frequently crack the NCAA Tournament; it resides in the WCC.

The first Big 12 football game of the 2023 season comes on Aug. 31, as UCF makes its conference debut in hosting Kent State. That game will air on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET.

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