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Pac-12 Releases Statement on USC, UCLA Departures

Following the official announcement that USC and UCLA are heading to the Big Ten, the Pac-12 released a statement calling the news surprising and disappointing.

“While we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in athletics, academics, and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we’re confident will continue to thrive and grow into the future,” the conference’s statement read. “The Pac-12 is home to many of the world’s best universities, athletic programs and alumni, representing one of the most dynamic regions in the United States. We’ve long been known as the Conference of Champions, and we’re unwavering in our commitment to extend that title.”

The two schools join the Big Ten after a unanimous vote on Thursday night. Following the vote, several schools—mostly from the Pac-12—contacted the Big Ten about joining the league, per Sports Illustrated‘s Ross Dellenger, though no further expansion is expected imminently.

The seismic move started when the two Los Angeles schools approached the Big Ten months ago. Sources told Dellenger that the two 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.’”

USC and UCLA have each been members of the Pac-12 for the better part of a century. The move furthers speculation that college sports is headed towards a “Power 2” system in which the Big Ten and SEC continue to poach big-name programs from other leagues. The sentiment throughout the college football world is that the two leagues could grow to 30–35 teams each, operating as a “semi-professional model” of the sport, per Dellenger.

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