The two schools confirmed the move Thursday.
“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said. “We are excited that our values align with the league’s member institutions. We also will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference; the athletic caliber of Big Ten institutions; the increased visibility, exposure, and resources the conference will bring our student-athletes and programs; and the ability to expand engagement with our passionate alumni nationwide.”
UCLA chancellor Gene Block and AD Martin Jarmond released a joint message, including the following: “For the past century, decisions about UCLA Athletics have always been guided by what is best for our student-athletes, first and foremost, and our fans. Our storied athletics program, based in one of the biggest media markets in the nation, has always had unique opportunities and faced unique challenges. In recent years, however, seismic changes in collegiate athletics have made us evaluate how best to support our student-athletes as we move forward. After careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation, UCLA has decided to leave the Pac-12 Conference and join the Big Ten Conference at the start of the 2024–25 season.”
The defection will include all athletic teams except for 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 reacts to reports
FOX Sports’ RJ Young reacts to the news that the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins could be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024. RJ breaks down what this means for college football.
Losing USC and UCLA is a major blow for a Pac-12 Conference that’s battled for college football relevancy for several years in a Power Five landscape dominated by the SEC and Big Ten. Last July, Big 12 powers Texas and Oklahoma formally accepted invitations to join the SEC in 2025.
The Pac-12 hasn’t sent a team to the College Football Playoff since the 2016 Washington Huskies.
Both Los Angeles-area schools have reportedly been digging into the financial and logistical aspects of the shake-up in recent weeks.
“While finances played a big role in the move, competitiveness, brand and the overall landscape of the future of the sport played a bigger role,” ESPN reported.
The Pac-12 brought in just $341 million in revenue last year and distributed only $19.8 million per school in fiscal year 2021, which was by far the least among Power 5 conferences. The Big Ten divvied up $680 million to its member schools in the same fiscal year. Moreover, the Big Ten is projected to pay each program roughly $100 million by the end of the decade, while the Pac-12 is projected at less than $60 million per school.
USC and UCLA also fit in with the Big Ten’s academic profile, as both schools are among the nation’s top research universities. Nebraska is the only Big Ten school that isn’t a member of the Association of American Universities.
Colin Cowherd reacted to the big news from an airport in Miami.
“It makes a lot of sense.,” he said. “Once Texas and Oklahoma announced they were moving to the SEC, the Big Ten needed a counterpunch. This is it. … I think for USC and UCLA, too often their games feel small and regional.
“I get the move. I think there’s a lot of winners.’
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