The Big Ten Conference officially announced that the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles will become conference members effective August 2, 2024. Competition for all sports will begin the 2024-25 academic year.
The decision for USC and UCLA to join the conference was made by unanimous vote on part of the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors on Thursday.
The Big Ten Conference released the following statement:
After receiving written applications from the two universities, Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren, alongside conference athletics directors and the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, evaluated the applications based on a dynamic model weighting four primary principles with supporting criteria. The principles include academics and culture; student-athlete welfare, competition, and logistics; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports; and financial sustainability. The model allows the conference to analyze criteria in a strategic and effective manner.
“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,” Commissioner Warren stated. “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 Big Ten Conference has a lineage of transformation dating back to the historic meeting with seven university presidents on January 11, 1895, at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois. Those seven leaders created the blueprint for what grew into the modern intercollegiate sports model. Adding the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California continues the conference’s legacy of transformation and innovation in college athletics. The addition of the two universities remains subject to negotiation of final terms.
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USC and UCLA's move to the Big Ten comes as the Pac-12's media rights deal nears its 2024 expiration date and as the Big Ten negotiates a new deal that could exceed $1 billion annually.
With the addition of the Trojans and Bruins, the Big Ten will stretch coast-to-coast and include sixteen schools. Penn State became the first program to join the conference's original ten schools in 1993, with Nebraska following in 2011, and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.