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Big Ten Adding USC, UCLA In 2024

The Big Ten has announced that the conference will be adding USC and UCLA beginning in 2024.

Both USC and UCLA recently applied for admittance and on Thursday the conference’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to admit them, effective August 2, 2024. Competition will begin for all conference sports in the 2024-2025 academic year.

Upon receiving the applications, the Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors, along with conference commissioner Kevin Warren, evaluated those applications based on four primary principles: academics and culture; student-athlete welfare, competition, and logistics; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports; and financial sustainability.

“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,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a release. “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.”

The conference will now span from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and encompass 12 states.

Both USC and UCLA have released statements about their intention to join the Big Ten.

“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.”

“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports,” Trojans 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.”

While USC’s release featured quotes from the president and AD, UCLA’s release was a simple statement signed by both UCLA chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Martin Jarmond.

Here is a snippet below, or you can check out the full statement here.

“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. 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.

“Entry into the Big Ten will also help ensure that UCLA preserves and maintains all 25 current teams and more than 700 student-athletes in our program. Additionally, it means enhanced resources for all of our teams, from academic support to mental health and wellness. And although this move increases travel distances for teams, the resources offered by Big Ten membership may allow for more efficient transportation options. We would also explore scheduling accommodations with the Big Ten that best support our student-athletes’ academic pursuits.

“For our fans, Big Ten membership equates to better television time slots for our road games, but the same number of home games either at the Rose Bowl, in Pauley Pavilion or other UCLA venues. We will make efforts to preserve our traditional regional rivalries and are pleased that our crosstown rival, USC, will also be joining the Big Ten in 2024–25. While we are fierce competitors on the field, we have a rich tradition of collaboration that we look forward to continuing.”