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In 2024, USC and UCLA Will leave the Pac-12 and Join the Big Ten Conference!
Two of the best teams in the Pac-12, USC and UCLA, were told Thursday night that their request to join the Big Ten has been accepted.
In 2024, the schools will start playing in the conference.
In a statement, the Big Ten said that when conference presidents and chancellors met Thursday night to discuss adding the two schools, the vote was unanimous.
“Today’s unanimous vote shows how much our whole conference respects and welcomes the University of Southern California, led by President Carol Folt, and the University of California, Los Angeles, led by Chancellor Gene Block,” said Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren.
Martin Jarmond, who is in charge of sports at UCLA, texted ESPN: “College sports are changing, and UCLA has always been ahead of the curve when things change. We can’t stand still if we care about our student-athletes and want to keep the Bruin tradition of excellence alive.”
Mike Bohn, who is in charge of sports at USC, said that the Big Ten is “the best place for USC and the Trojans to be as we move into the new world of college sports.”
“We are excited that our values align with the league’s member institutions,” Bohn said in a statement. “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.”
A source told ESPN that the team has been looking into finances and what it would take to move for weeks. Even though money is a big reason for the move, competition, brand, and the future of the sport as a whole have been more important.
A source who knows about the move told ESPN that USC and UCLA need to make decisions that will help them in the long run. “The future is so hard to predict that we need to be in a strong position.”
The Pac-12 released a statement later Thursday saying it was “extremely surprised and disappointed” by the news of UCLA and USC leaving.
In its statement, the Pac-12 said, “We have a long and storied history in athletics, academics, and being a leader in supporting student-athletes. We’re confident that this will continue to grow and thrive in the future.” “The Pac-12 has some of the best universities, athletic programs, and alumni in the world, making it one of the most exciting parts of the U.S. We’ve been called the Conference of Champions for a long time, and we’re determined to keep that name.
“We will keep coming up with new and innovative programs that help our member institutions directly, and we look forward to working with current and potential members to shape the future of college sports.”
This move would be less disruptive than possible moves in the ACC because USC and UCLA have a grant of rights tied to the current Pac-12 television contract, which ends after the 2023 football season and the 2023–2024 school year. So, both schools should be able to join the league for the 2024-25 season without having to pay any extra money.
Pac-12 officials had been trying to get both Los Angeles schools to extend the grant of rights for a long time. The fact that they didn’t show that they were aiming higher.
“We just got Sooner’d and Horned,” a high-ranking university official at one of the Pac-12 schools told ESPN, referring to Texas and Oklahoma’s decision last year to leave the Big 12 conference for the SEC.
The Pac-12 is facing similar financial pressures as the ACC and other leagues. This is because conference revenue projections, which can change and are not always linear, show that the SEC and Big Ten will make nearly twice as much as some of the other Power 5 leagues by the end of this decade. Because of these financial pressures, USC and UCLA had to decide whether to bully the Pac-12 into giving them unequal revenue shares or to go somewhere else and have a seat at the table for the long term. The money will help them stay competitive at the national level in football and keep supporting all sports, including women’s sports and sports that don’t bring in much money.
“When Texas and Oklahoma joined the SEC, it was clear that these schools had only one choice,” said a person who knew about the move.
It will be interesting to see how this affects Fox’s upcoming TV deal with the Big Ten, which is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. By adding the two schools, the West Coast and one of the most interesting media markets in the country would be included.
The move is bad for the future of the Pac-12 because Fox is putting more money into UCLA and USC inventory in the Big Ten. This means that Fox will put much less money into the Pac-12, which it has owned for a long time. After losing its two biggest names, this move makes Oregon and Washington the top schools in the conference.
A Pac-12 source told ESPN, “I’ve always thought UCLA couldn’t leave Cal.” “That is the most political state or system there is. That came as a big surprise.”