UCLA, USC set to join Big Ten Conference in 2024
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - In a move that would fundamentally reshape collegiate sports, two NCAA bluebloods and lynchpins of the PAC-12 will be making a big move – to the Big Ten.
In separate tweets from both USC and UCLA Thursday night, it stated that the schools would be joining the Big Ten Conference for the 2024-25 season. The Big Ten Conference voted to accept both crosstown rivals as full members of the conference.
USC President Carol Folt explained that the move will provide long-term success for both its academics and athletics.
“Over the past three years, we have worked hard to ground our university decisions in what is best for our students,” Folt said. “With the Big Ten, we are joining a storied conference that shares our commitment to academic excellence and athletic competitiveness, and we are positioning USC and our student-athletes for long-term success and stability amidst the rapidly evolving sports media and collegiate athletics landscapes. We are delighted to begin this new chapter in 2024.”
A joint letter from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond stated that they believe this is the right move for UCLA.
“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 letter states. “Specifically, this move will enhance Name, Image and Likeness opportunities through greater exposure for our student-athletes and offer new partnerships with entities across the country.”
The release says the move will become effective on Aug. 2, 2024. Both schools will remain in the PAC-12 for the remainder of its media contract.
Prior to the confirmation, San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner cited a source related to the move, and cautioned that no deal had been finalized. He noted that any deal would need approval from the highest echelons of both schools and the Big Ten itself.
Wilner also pointed out that his information was not clear if any conference switching would affect all of the schools’ athletic programs, or if it would be limited to football, or possibly football and men’s basketball.
In his article, he explained that such a move could have dire consequences for the PAC-12, saying “the future of the conference is suddenly in serious doubt — a potential merger with the Big 12 could be on the table, or the remaining schools could go their separate ways.”
For the Big Ten, a deal like this would give the conference two marquee names that also happen to reside in the nation’s second largest market.
And, for Badger fans, it means a lot more trips to the Rose Bowl (at least for regular season games) – and a chance to get a break from Midwestern winters and still see UW play.
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