In an announcement that shocked the entire collegiate sports world, USC and UCLA will be moving from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten conference beginning in the 2024-2025 sports season. The news was first reported by Pac-12 reporter Jon Wilner who tweeted about the California schools this morning at 7 a.m (HST). By this afternoon (or nighttime in EST), both universities’ applications for move were accepted by the Midwest conference.
According to the Big Ten, the USC and UCLA applications were evaluated on the conference’s model that weighs four principles: “academics and culture; student-athlete welfare, competition, and logistics; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports; and financial sustainability.” ESPN’s story on the move included comments from both USC and UCLA’s athletic directors. “USC athletic director Mike Bohn called the Big Ten ‘the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports,'” while “UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond wrote in a text to ESPN: ‘College athletics is changing, and UCLA has always led in times of change. For the sake of our student-athletes, and for preserving the legacy of Bruin excellence, we cannot afford to stand still.'”
In today’s Big Ten press release, Commissioner Kevin Warren said, “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. 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.”
This move will surely bring uncertainty to many D1 conferences including the rest of the Pac-12, Big 12, and ACC. The Big 12 could recruit some of the Pac-12 teams who’ve been left behind as the former works to establish a more solid corps in competition with the SEC and Big Ten. New commissioner Brett Yormark definitely has his work cut out for him in the coming weeks!