USC, UCLA to join Big Ten in 2024

The two California schools will leave the Pac-12 to become the Big Ten’s 15th and 16th institutions.


Grace Smith

Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren speaks at the beginning of Big Ten Basketball Media Days at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. During his speech, Warren addressed women and men’s sports and his goal to continue to work toward equality.

Chris Werner, Summer Sports Editor

Per multiple reports, USC and UCLA have both been accepted into the Big Ten and will begin playing in the conference in 2024.

Both schools, which had been longtime members of the Pac-12, were unanimously approved to join the Big Ten Thursday night.

“As the national leader in academics and athletics for over 126 years, the Big Ten Conference has historically evaluated its membership with the collective goal to forward the academic and athletic mission for student-athletes under the umbrella of higher education,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin  Warren said in a release. “The unanimous vote today signifies the deep respect and welcoming culture our entire conference has for the University of Southern California, under the leadership of President Carol Folt, and the University of California, Los Angeles, under the leadership of Chancellor Gene Block. I am thankful for the collaborative efforts of our campus leadership, athletics directors and Council of Presidents and Chancellors who recognize the changing landscape of college athletics, methodically reviewed each request, and took appropriate action based on our consensus.”

The Big Ten’s 16 teams – after USC and UCLA join – will soon match that of the expanding SEC. Texas and Oklahoma announced they would leave the Big 12 for the SEC in 2025.

“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 in a release. “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.”

“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,” said UCLA chancellor Gene D. Block and AD Martin Jarmond in a combined statement. “… Each school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time. For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come. As the oldest NCAA Division I athletic conference in the United States and with a footprint that will now extend from the Pacific to the Atlantic, Big Ten membership offers Bruins exciting new competitive opportunities and a broader national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talents.”

The University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson and athletic director Gary Barta each issued statements regarding the new addition to the conference.

“The addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten will enhance the conference’s existing comprehensive excellence in academics, research, and athletics,” Wilson said in a release. “I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Iowa City and the UI campus.”

Barta said he’s excited to welcome the new schools to the conference and help to work out various logistics of the alteration.

“We are excited about the addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten Conference. Both institutions fit our department’s “Win. Graduate. Do it right” culture,” Barta said in a release. “There are many logistics to work out over the coming months, and we are eager to begin the process.”

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