* As Matt Brown mentioned, and I agree, going for Gonzaga first puts BYU in a corner of sorts. It also complicates any negotiations BYU may have had with ESPN about continuing their television contract for football rights. The flipside for this is that the Mountain West allowed Boise St. to dictate terms of remaining in the Mountain West several years back, and some of those terms included keeping their home games tied to ESPN with some exceptions.
Mountain West rights agreements with ESPN and CBS Sports Network expire after the 2019-20 athletic year, so this might be the conference getting a jump on things, similar to the Sun Belt, though the Sun Belt had a football conference championship game to use as the reason to start discussions.
* Another item to watch when it comes to taking on Gonzaga & BYU could be their preference to maintain the TV roles KHQ/ROOT Sports Northwest & BYUtv, respectively, have today. In the case of BYU, it may not be as hard to do as it was back when the Mountain West dealt with CSTV and Comcast's Versus. ROOT Sports and its sister RSNs of AT&T SportsNet should be easy to incorporate. Whether any of these schools would raise a stink over any ESPN3 / ESPN+ exclusives is another story.
* A potential complication for BYU is either buying out, cancelling or postponing tons of future football games. Per FBSchedules, the Cougars are fully scheduled for 2019, at ten games for 2020 & 2021, and have at least six games accounted for per season through 2023.
How did Navy accomplish this? They accepted an invite in January of 2012 but did not join in football until 2015, giving them three seasons to complete as many game contracts as possible and either buyout or cancel many other contracts.
* The WCC's TV rights come up after the 2018-19 athletic year, so this is quite pivotal for any agreement the conference attempts to negotiate. Gonzaga & BYU can be replaced by other schools, more in physical status than in value & recognition. If the WCC were to look to the same private, faith based institutions that make up the membership todays, I believe Seattle and Grand Canyon would be first targets. Seattle has wanted back in the conference ever since they returned to Division I. Grand Canyon is a bit more interesting because they are attempting to change their for-profit status.
* The WCC's new scheduling model, announced Monday, seems to be a nod to Gonzaga. It gives the schools two more non-conference opportunities to do as they wish. Let's be clear the changes this doesn't necessarily poke a stick at St. Mary's and its inability to get to the NCAA tournament as an at-large:
- Top two seeds don't play until the semifinals - St. Mary's lost in the semifinals, not before that.
- Play more home games than road games - St. Mary's played eight non-conference home games, two true road games and a neutral site multi-team event.
- Play in a multi-team event - That box was checked.
The Gaels ticked off all those boxes. Its about what they do with those eight home games, or maybe a couple less home games and trying out a few more home-home series.
As for the model itself of 16 conference games and the stepladder format for the conference tournament, that was the model pre-BYU & Pacific when the WCC was an eight team league. This might have also been a precursor to a future without BYU and Gonzaga.
* If the Mountain West adds both BYU and Gonzaga, that leads to 13 schools in most sports. The MEAC has done 13 member conference tournaments and the MAC had a period of 13 football playing members and a scheduling model for it too, so it can be done.
New Mexico St. might be a target to get to 14 & balance things out. The Aggies are re-entering football independence while in the WAC for others sports. If they are being considered for membership, it could be tied to BYU and their entry.