USC and UCLA leave Big Ten in 2024, dealing a blow to Pac-12

07 Jul 2022 | 08:50

In a historic move that will change the landscape of college sports on the West Coast, USC and UCLA will launch the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024.

The move became official late Thursday afternoon following news of the possibility Thursday morning.

The departure of Los Angeles schools will have major consequences for the Pac-12, stripping it of its facilities in its most important recruiting and media center and two ranking teams – football USC and UCLA basketball – act as the face of the convention in their respective sports.

“Over the past three years, we have worked hard to make decisions about our college that are best for our students,” USC President Carol L. Folt said in a statement. The school press announced the move. “With the Big Ten, we are joining a tiered conference sharing our commitment to academic excellence and athletic competitiveness, and we are positioning USC and its students- our athletes for long-term and consistent success in the rapidly evolving sports media landscape and college athletics landscape. We are excited to start this new chapter in 2024.”

The announcement indicates that schools will be participating in the Big Ten in all sports.

“UCLA has been deeply evaluating our membership in the Pac-12 for many years, and we plan to become a member of the conference in the next two years. We have grown close to other member schools and deeply respect their commitment to the student-athlete experience,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in their school announcement. . “Pac-12 has always shared our values ​​and continues to innovate, working hard on behalf of the student-athletes and many fans. At the same time, each school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time. For us, this move provides more certainty in an era of rapid change and ensures that we remain the leader in college athletics for generations to come.”

In its own statement, Pac-12 said it was “deeply surprised and disappointed” by the decision from USC and UCLA.

“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 have long been known as the Conference of Champions, and we are steadfast in our commitment to expanding that title,” the Pac-12’s unpublished statement said. “We will continue to develop new and innovative programs that directly benefit our member organizations, and we look forward to working with current and potential members to advance together.” future of college athletics.”

Now, the future of the conference is suddenly in serious doubt – a potential merger with the Big 12 could be on the table, or the remaining schools could go their separate ways. In particular, Washington and Oregon have valuable football brands.

The move raises important political questions, especially for UCLA, which is connected to Cal through the UC system – schools with the same regents.

It also comes 11 months after Texas and Oklahoma decided to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, creating a 16-team powerhouse tournament backed by a sweeping media rights deal with ESPN.