Update: USC and UCLA approved for admission to the Big Ten in 2024

And you thought those trips to Rutgers and Nebraska were far?

Pac-12 schools USC and UCLA have been approved as members of the Big Ten in a unanimous vote by the league’s presidents and chancellors on Thursday evening, according to multiple reports.

The move appears to be in response to the SEC’s annexation of Texas and Oklahoma as conferences continue to expand in both members and geographic reach.  And with that comes more bargaining power.

The Big Ten is in the process of negotiating its next round of TV contracts.  Those deals were already expected to bring the league $1 billion per year before the addition of USC and UCLA.

The addition of USC and UCLA would give the Big Ten 16 schools and a national reach with members on both coasts and just about everywhere in between.  It would also add the number two in the nation Southern California media market to the league portfolio.

The Big Ten’s name has been a misnomer since 1990 when Penn State joined the league.  Since then, Nebraska (2011), Maryland (2014) and Rutgers (2014) have also joined.

In 1899 Indiana became the eighth school to join the league formerly known as the Western Conference.

Multiple reports on Thursday are suggesting that this is only the first of multiple rounds of expansion involving the Big Ten.


IU President Pam Whitten and AD Scott Dolson issues a joint statement:

“This is a great day for Indiana University with the news of the acceptance of requests from UCLA and USC to join the Big Ten Conference. Both are highly respected academic institutions that share our commitment to premier education and research. They also both have rich and storied intercollegiate athletic programs that will enhance the world-class opportunities that our Indiana University student-athletes already enjoy. Their arrival will strengthen the Big Ten’s long-standing reputation as the preeminent conference in all intercollegiate athletics.”

The Big Ten Conference issued the following statement on Thursday evening:

The Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously today to admit the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California to the Big Ten Conference effective August 2, 2024. Competition will begin for all conference sports in the 2024-25 academic year.

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.

The Pac-12 Conference issued the following statement today, June 30, 2022:

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 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. We will continue to develop new and innovative programs that directly benefit our member institutions, and we look forward to partnering with current and potential members to pioneer the future of college athletics together.

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