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Thursday, June 30, 2011
BYU set to join the West Coast Conference

By Diamond Leung

BYU will become a member of the West Coast Conference on Friday, and if you look back on how all the expansion madness worked out, it was the WCC that came out a huge winner.

The league at this time last year had discussed adding another team, but wasn't expecting to make any moves. After a high-stakes game of musical chairs, it ended up that BYU -- coming off a year in which Jimmer Fredette led the team to the Sweet 16 -- was going to join the WCC.

Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich realizes just how fortuitous of a partnership this was, according to the Deseret News.
"We had been doing work on expansion, and had chosen not to pursue new membership," Zaninovich said. "But we had a full model in place. Those two weeks in August, I reached out to Tom [Holmoe, the athletic director] because I had a previous relationship with him. I said, 'Hey, I understand you're looking for a non-football conference.' That was a time when they were trying to figure out what their next moves were and whether they could put a football schedule together with a non-football conference.

"It was apparent to them, when they looked at the West Coast Conference, how closely aligned we were institutionally and basketball and otherwise, and what a good fit it would be. It's sort of like a job interview. You sit down and start talking, and you can tell pretty quick when something is a fit or not.

"One thing led to another and two weeks later, we were in Provo having a press conference. BYU certainly fits that mold very well. I don't think anybody thought of it as a possibility, but we knew what we were looking for and BYU fit that. That's why the deal came together so quickly. The presidents came to a strong consensus pretty quickly."

It's a good deal for the WCC, and you can expect BYU and Gonzaga to quickly start up a rivalry. They have the biggest home-court advantages in the conference and should compete annually for titles.

And for BYU, expect to see more of the team on television in the coming years. Jimmermania might be over, but moving out of the Mountain West Conference has its advantages going forward.