PROVO — The West Coast Conference announced Monday major changes in both league scheduling and non-conference scheduling as a way to enhance its teams’ NCAA Tournament résumés.
The changes, which were passed by the presidents during a conference call this month, come amid reports that the WCC’s top basketball school, Gonzaga, is considering a move to the Mountain West Conference.
The WCC announced that the league’s 10 teams will play 16 conference games instead of 18, allowing programs to schedule non-league games that could improve their strength of schedule and RPI. Teams will play seven league opponents twice and will face one team only on the road and one only at home.
“As the landscape changes and access to the NCAA Tournament becomes more challenging, we felt it was appropriate to make adjustments in the way we schedule both during conference play and in the non-conference portion of the season," BYU head coach Dave Rose, chairman of the WCC men’s basketball head coaches group, said in a statement. “Although it is unique for us to be playing fewer conference games while other conferences are adding games to their schedule, the disparity in RPI from the top of our league to the bottom is larger than any other conference’s. We believe this approach will allow all 10 of our teams to schedule based on the current state of their program, and all 10 of us can go win more games — which will help everyone.”
Other scheduling changes:
- Teams are required to play in a multi-team event — a preseason tournament like the Maui Invitational or Paradise Jam — each season.
- Teams are required to play more home games than road games.
- Teams are required to schedule no more than two non-Division I opponents per year.
- The WCC must approve “guarantee” games that involve a weaker opponent playing on a WCC team’s home floor.
- The top two seeds of the WCC Tournament will receive byes until the semifinal round.
Over the weekend, CBSSports.com reported that the Zags could be getting close to making a decision about their conference affiliation.
"We're going to be closing on a window that is going to be making it difficult," Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth told Dennis Dodd. "I think we're into that crunch period for sure if we're going to try to get it done for the fall of 2018. At the same time, we're not going to rush the decision because of timing.
"In a perfect world, we're going to be making a decision in the next couple of weeks here," Roth added. "But there is no such thing as perfect worlds in the crazy world of college athletics."
Roth denied rumors that Gonzaga and BYU were part of a package deal to leave the WCC for the Mountain West.