Big ten votes to add USC, and UCLA as members starting in 2024
Big ten votes to add USC, and UCLA as members starting in 2024. The Big Ten said Thursday that Southern California and UCLA will join the conference in 2024, marking a dramatic and unprecedented change in collegiate athletics.
The Big Ten will become the first conference to reach from Atlantic to Pacific with the addition of four teams after the expiration of the Pac-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN.
Almost a year after Oklahoma and Texas formally accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference in July 2025, the SEC made the shocking announcement.
According to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, USC and UCLA applied to join the league after having been members of the Pac-12 and its predecessor conferences for almost a century. The application was approved by a unanimous vote of the conference’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors.
Mike Bohn, the athletic director at the University of Southern California, has stated that the Big Ten Conference is the finest place for USC and Trojan athletics to compete in the modern era of college sports. We’re overjoyed that the other league members’ institutions hold a similar commitment to excellence. We look forward to the enhanced visibility, exposure, and resources that the Big Ten Conference will offer to our student-athletes and programmes as well as the opportunity to deepen our connection with our dedicated alumni across the country.”
The move allows the Big Ten to keep up with the SEC as one of the most powerful entities in college sports, building on recent expansion into the nation’s top media areas.
With the addition of USC and UCLA, the Big Ten will have two powerhouse schools in football and basketball, as well as high-profile brands that will increase the value of the conference’s new media rights package.
Losing flagship schools like USC and UCLA is a big blow to the Pac-12, which has enjoyed a long and friendly relationship with the Big Ten best symbolised by its Rose Bowl collaboration.
Despite being “extremely surprised and disappointed” by the news from UCLA and USC today, the Pac-12 insisted in a statement that it was “confident” that its “long and storied history in athletics, academics, and leadership in supporting student-athletes” would continue to thrive/flourish and develop in the future.
What the Pac-12 will do in the future is a mystery, but it is possible that other colleges may be added to take the place of USC and UCLA.
There have been two recent expansions of the Big Ten, with Nebraska entering in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers joining in 2014.
Both USC and UCLA have the academic credentials to join the Big Ten. Both schools are among the 65 members of the Association of American Universities, which is made up of prominent research universities. Each and every institution in the Big Ten except for Nebraska is a part of the conference.
The move, according to UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond, “will help safeguard the legacy of UCLA Athletics for generations to come, from more exposure and a bigger national platform for our student-athletes to enhanced resources/help for our teams.”
We value the Pac-12 and the universities that make up the conference, and we have enjoyed our time as a member. However, we acknowledge that each institution faces unique challenges and opportunities. We believe that UCLA made the best choice at this particular time.
USC and UCLA
Both USC and UCLA expect to gain substantially in financial support. In the fiscal year 2021, the Pac-12 gave each member school a meagre $19.8 million, the lowest amount among the Power 5 conferences. The Big Ten’s $46.1 million payment per institution was second only to the $54.6 million distributed by the SEC.
Whereas the Big Ten Network is the most well-established of the conference networks, the Pac-12 has had trouble getting its conference television network back on track.
In terms of visibility and rivalry, USC and UCLA would improve in football.
In most of the country, the “Pac-12 After Dark” games that are broadcast on television do not begin until far after midnight, which has hindered the conference’s ability to gain widespread recognition. Only twice in conference history have Pac-12 teams qualified for the College Football Playoff: Oregon (2014 season) and Washington (2016 season) (2016).
University of Southern California President Carol L. Folt has stated that she and other administrators have given serious thought to the extensive travel that will be required to compete in the Big Ten. Lincoln, Nebraska is over 1,500 miles from Los Angeles, making it the furthest western institution in the conference. It takes over 5 and a half hours to fly from Los Angeles to Rutgers, the most eastern school in the Big Ten.
Thank goodness we have two years to coordinate travel and timing with the conference, Folt added.
In response to Oklahoma and Texas’ decision to join the Southeastern Conference, the Big Ten, the Pacific-12, and the Atlantic Coast Conference formed an alliance last August. The 41-member conferences have pledged to work together to shape the future of sports. The three conferences have collaborated to improve the lives of their athletes by setting up scheduling agreements for certain sports and sharing resources.
Less than a year later, the future of the alliance would appear dismal with the Big Ten seizing two of the Pac-12′s greatest brands.
The University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, have decided to end their conference affiliations. In 1922, USC joined the California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, and Washington State schools in the Pacific Coast Conference. UCLA joined the league in 1928.
They joined the Athletic Association of Western Universities in 1959, which evolved into the Pacific-8 in 1968, the Pacific-10 in 1978, and the Pacific-12 in 2011.