USC and UCLA are reportedly in negotiations to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten, sources told Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger on Thursday. News of the potential move was originally reported by Jon Wilner of The Mercury News.
The college conference realignment news shocked fans, especially after Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff’s quote from just earlier this month recirculated on social media, courtesy of James Crepea of The Oregonian.
“Absolutely not,” Kliavkoff said when asked about if he was worried about teams moving to the Big Ten. “I have no concern about our schools. We had the opportunity when conference realignment was going on last summer to canvas our president and chancellors and it is clear to me that everyone who’s in the Pac-12 is committed to the Pac-12. I’m not worried about that. We’re not looking to expand; we had lots of opportunities to expand. We’re really happy at 12.”
The comment obviously didn’t turn out to be the case with Thursday’s realignment news. The two schools previously expressed interest in joining the Big Ten and the target year for joining is 2024, per Dellenger.
The Pac-12 conference last expanded in 2011 when they added Colorado and Utah. USC and UCLA have been a part of the conference for at least 94 years. The Big Ten conference last expanded in 2014 when they added Maryland and Rutgers. If the deal becomes reality, the conference will cover the west and east coasts, along with a heavy midwestern presence.
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