The two universities announced their intention to exchange conferences in separate statements on Thursday. Pac-12 said it was “extremely surprised and disappointed” by the move.
They will join a conference with the likes of the University of Michigan, Pennsylvania State and Ohio State, creating a 16-member conference to rival the Southeast Conference (SEC).
Less than a year ago, a similar move rocked the college football world when the universities of Texas and Oklahoma accepted invitations to join the SEC from the Big 12.
According to USC, the Big Ten has voted to accept both universities as members effective August 2, 2024.
This shift has major implications for upcoming media rights agreements. USC says it will roll out its current deal with the Pac-12 until it expires in 2024.
“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into a new world of team sports,” Mike Boone, director of the USC Athletic Center, said in a statement. “We will also benefit from the stability and strength of the conference; the athletic caliber of the Big Ten; the increased visibility, exposure, and resources that the conference will provide to our student-athletes and programs; and the ability to expand engagement with our graduate passion nationwide.”
“Big Ten membership offers exciting new competitive opportunities for the Bruins and a broader national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talents. Specifically, this move will enhance name, image and likeness opportunities by greater exposure to student-athletes and showcase new partnerships with entities across the country,” he said. University of California chancellor Jane Block and athletics director Martin Garmond.
UCLA also highlighted “better television time slots for our road games” while acknowledging increased travel time for outdoor games.
The Big Ten released a statement saying that it voted unanimously to accept both universities after considering their applications to join.
“As the national leader for academics and athletics for more than 126 years, the Big Ten has historically valued its membership with the collective goal of directing the academic and athletic mission of student-athletes under the umbrella of higher education,” said Commissioner Kevin Warren. . “I am grateful for the collaborative efforts of campus leadership, athletics administrators, the President’s Council, and advisors who are aware of the changing college athletics landscape, systematically review each application, and take appropriate action based on our consensus.”
Pac12 said in its statement that it will “continue to thrive” despite leaving both kidneys.
“We have long known as the Conference of Champions, and we are steadfast in our commitment to extending this title,” the Pac-12 Conference said in a statement. “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 lead the college’s athletics future together.”
CNN’s Jacob Leaf contributed to this report.
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