USC and UCLA officially leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024.
The two schools confirmed the move on Thursday, with ESPN’s Pete Thamel adding that their applications were in adopted by the Big Ten.
“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of college sports,” said USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn. “We are thrilled that our values align with those of the league’s members. We will also benefit from the stability and strength of the conference; the athletic caliber of the Big Ten institutions; the increased visibility, exposure and resources the conference will bring to our student-athletes and programs; and the opportunity to expand interacting with our passionate alumni across the country.”
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and AD Martin Jarmond released a joint statement, including the following: “Over the past century, UCLA athletics decisions have always been guided by what is best for our student-athletes, first for everything, and our fans. A storied athletics program based in one of the largest media markets in the country has always had unique opportunities and faced unique challenges. However, seismic changes in collegiate athletics in recent years have forced us to evaluate how best to support our student-athletes as we move forward. After careful consideration and thoughtful discussion, UCLA has decided to leave the Pac-12 Conference and join the Big Ten Conference at the start of the 2024-2025 season.”
The move will include all sports teams except beach volleyball, men’s volleyball and men’s and women’s water polo, according to the Los Angeles Times.
USC and UCLA to the Big Ten? RJ Young responds to messages
FOX Sports’ Arjay Young reacts to the news that the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins could leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024. RJ talks about what this means for college football.
The loss of USC and UCLA is a major blow to the Pac-12 Conference, which has struggled for college football relevance for several years in a Power Five landscape dominated by the SEC and Big Ten. Last July, Big 12 Texas and Oklahoma officially accepted invitations to join the SEC in 2025.
The Pac-12 hasn’t sent a team to the College Football Playoff since the Washington Huskies in 2016.
Both Los Angeles schools have reportedly been sorting out the financial and logistical aspects of the realignment in recent weeks.
“While finances played a large role in the move, competitiveness, branding and the overall landscape of the future of the sport played a large role,” ESPN reported.
The Pac-12 brought in just $341 million in revenue last year and distributed just $19.8 million per school in fiscal year 2021, which was by far the lowest among the Power 5 conferences. The Big Ten distributed $680 million to its member schools in the same financial year. What’s more, the Big Ten is projected to pay each program roughly $100 million by the end of the decade, while the Pac-12 is projected to pay less than $60 million per school.
USC and UCLA also fit the academic profile of the Big Ten, as both schools are among the nation’s top research universities. Nebraska is the only Big Ten school that is not a member of the Association of American Universities.
Colin Cowherd reacted to the big news from the Miami airport.
“It makes a lot of sense,” he said. “After Texas and Oklahoma announced they were moving to the SEC, the Big Ten needed a counterattack. That’s all. … I think for USC and UCLA, too often their games seem small and regional.
“I got the drift. I think there are a lot of winners.”
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