The USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins will officially join the Big Ten Conference in 2024, both schools announced Thursday evening.
A report of USC and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten was first revealed earlier on Thursday by Jon Wilner of The Mercury-News.
“Over the past three years, we have worked hard to ground our university decisions in what is best for our students,” said USC President Carol L. Folt. “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.”
The Big Ten has voted to accept both USC and UCLA into the conference effective August 2, 2024.
“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. “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.”
With the addition of USC and their crosstown rival UCLA, the Big Ten will expand to 16 teams and will have a new footprint that extends from coast to coast.
“For the past century, decisions about UCLA Athletics have always been guided by what is best for our student-athletes, first and foremost, and our fans,” UCLA Chancellor and Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond said. “Our storied athletics program, based in one of the biggest media markets in the nation, has always had unique opportunities and faced unique challenges. In recent years, however, seismic changes in collegiate athletics have made us evaluate how best to support our student-athletes as we move forward. 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.”
USC and UCLA will play in the Pac-12 Conference in the 2022 and 2023 seasons before both schools begin play in the Big Ten in 2024.
This is the biggest conference realignment news since Oklahoma and Texas were accepted into the SEC. It won’t be the last, however. Several reports indicate that the Big Ten is not done with just adding USC and UCLA and will target other Pac-12 schools such as Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah.
There’s also the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who, as the most prominent Independent, may have to finally join a conference.