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The Pac-12 released its second statement since news broke that USC and UCLA were leaving the conference for the Big Ten, this time touching on the idea of expanding. 

“The Pac-12 Board of Directors met this morning and authorized the Conference to explore all expansion options. The 10 university presidents and chancellors remain committed to a shared mission of academic and athletic excellence on behalf of our student-athletes.”

The Big Ten officially voted to add the two California schools to the conference on Thursday night, and sources told Sports Illustrated‘s Ross Dellenger that it was an unanimous decision. Following the vote, several schools—most from the Pac-12—contacted the Big Ten about joining the league, though no further expansion is expected imminently.

One of the largest questions looming over college football is what the conference structures will look like following last summer’s Texas–Oklahoma move to the SEC and now USC–UCLA to the Big Ten. The Trojans and Bruins are set to join their new league in August 2024, while the Longhorns and Sooners will jump to the SEC no later than 2025. 

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Following Thursday’s news, college sports media members and fans questioned the Alliance, which was formed by Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 after Oklahoma and Texas announced their move to SEC. But, it was a “gentleman’s agreement,” as Dellenger described, among the other three conferences with the purpose to help stabilize college football.

Now, that might not be the case. A source told Dellenger that The Alliance “probably ceases to exist now.”

The Pac-12 said in its statement Thursday night following the official announcement of USC and UCLA’s move that they were “extremely surprised and disappointed.” 

The shocking move began when the two schools approached the Big Ten several months ago. Sources told Dellenger that the two Los Angeles programs’ message to the Big Ten boiled down to this: They were leaving the Pac-12, and would the Big Ten want them. A Big Ten source told told Dellenger, “You have to be a moron to not think about it. They would have gone somewhere else if we said ’no.’”

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