USC, UCLA Unanimously Approved as Big Ten Members for 2024

by Riley Overend 76

June 30th, 2022 Big Ten, College, News, Pac-12

Just hours after the rumors first leaked, Big Ten leadership voted unanimously Thursday night to accept the membership bids of USC and UCLA, effective August 2, 2024.

“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 Big Ten said in a statement. “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.”

There was no mention of the gentleman’s agreement between the Pac-12, Big Ten, and ACC to not poach each other’s members, formed last summer after the SEC added Oklahoma and Texas.

“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,” Warren said. “I am thankful for the collaborative efforts of our campus leadership, athletic 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.”

UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond acknowledged the longer travel distances, but he said that the resources afforded by Big Ten membership could help the school solve transportation issues. 

“Although this move increases travel distances for teams, the resources offered by Big Ten membership may allow for more efficient transportation options,” said Jarmond, who rose the administrative ranks at Ohio State under Gene Smith. “For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come.”

USC athletic director Mike Bohn also cited the resources of the Big Ten, which was expected to distribute more than $100 million annually to its member schools even before adding the L.A. powerhouses. Their addition stretches the Big Ten from coast to coast while unifying the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and No. 9 television markets in the country between the conference’s soon-to-be 16 members. 

“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports,” Bohn said in a statement. “We are excited that our values align with the league’s member institutions. We also will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference; the athletic caliber of the Big Ten institutions; the increased visibility, exposure, and resources the conference will bring out student-athletes and programs; and the ability to expand engagement with our passionate alumni nationwide.”

In a statement, the Pac-12 said it was surprised and disappointed by the impending departure of UCLA and USC. 

“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 said in a statement. “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 that future of college athletics together.”

The Big Ten is currently negotiating its next media rights deal. Its existing deals with ESPN and Fox run through the next academic year, 2022-23. Soon after news broke of USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten, the Sports Business Journal reported that Apple called the conference looking to re-engage in media-rights talks. 

Sources also told the SBJ that the Big Ten had been in serious discussions with USC and UCLA about joining the conference for months, and formally submitted their applications for membership on Monday.

Schools that will remain in the Pac-12 (for now)

  • Arizona†*
  • Arizona State†*
  • Cal†*
  • Colorado
  • Oregon
  • Oregon State
  • Stanford†*
  • Utah†*
  • Washington
  • Washington State*

* – sponsors women’s swimming (6 schools)

† – sponsors men’s swimming (5 schools)

Schools that will be in the new Big Ten

  • Illinois*
  • Indiana†*
  • Iowa*
  • Maryland
  • Michigan†*
  • Michigan State
  • Minnesota†*
  • Nebraska*
  • Northwestern†*
  • Ohio State†*
  • Penn State†*
  • Purdue†*
  • Rutgers*
  • USC†*
  • UCLA*
  • Wisconsin*

* – sponsors women’s swimming (14 schools)

† – sponsors men’s swimming (9 schools)

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10 months ago

I’m stoked I can see the Terps in LA now! Woohoo!

pete kennedy
10 months ago

Once the Big Ten (ha) hired its present leader from the professional ranks the dye was caste. And the almighty dollar became the god of the future. The Academic leadership of the Big Ten has embraced the Satan of revenue. Greed is the new criteria of collegiate athletics. The Phoenix that destroyed Greek athletics has arisen from the ashes and will destroy the integrity of collegiate athletics.

The concept of institutions of higher learning educating Renaissance men (and women) is now a foreign concept.
The abandonment of classical education destroyed the concept of the student-athlete.

Academia’s only salvation would be a return to sanity. Hopeless, I am sure.

10 months ago

Schools claim to care about their student-athletes and then go and do crap like this. Further travel means that student-athletes will miss more class, lose out on more sleep, and have less time to spend doing the other things they enjoy like spending time with friends. And then schools wonder why their athletes are having more mental health issues than ever before. It’s frustrating.

10 months ago

I guess I can see the benefit of the money and exposure that the football teams will add, but I doubt they will be competitive. It will be similar to what happened with Maryland and Rutgers. PAC-12 football is very soft. USC and UCLA should be a slight addition to swimming, though.

John jay
Reply to  Guerra
10 months ago

You literally have no idea about college football or USC. They will be a top five program for next 10 years within 2 years. And historically there are top three program in the history of college football..

10 months ago

Arizona, Colorado, Utah & ASU to the Big12 makes sense.

Oregon & Washington to the Big 10

Stanford & Notre Dame could go Big10 and the media contract would be insane.

Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina, Miami to the SEC.

Two, 20 team power conferences are formed.

Cal, Oregon State & Washington State are the most screwed by this. It sounds like no one is talking those schools as additions.

The Pac-10/12/10 is no more.

10 months ago

Bring back men’s swimming at Washington and UCLA!!!

Coach Chackett
Reply to  swimfan27
10 months ago

And Maryland and Illinois and Michigan State Rutgers, Nebraska……

Reply to  swimfan27
10 months ago

and IOWA

B1G Daddy
10 months ago

Look for Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten imminently. Notre Dame and Stanford will be offered as well. If Notre Dame passes, look for Cal to be added as the 20th team later this month. This will move far quicker than anyone would believe as the B1G is in the midst of a rights contract negotiation that will net each school $75-100M annually.

FOX has already retained the priority portion of those talks. They are now in talks re the remaining portion. Maximizing the B1G’s value for these negotiations is at play here.

Reply to  B1G Daddy
10 months ago

The Fightin’ Peacocks of NBC aren’t going anywhere. Especially to Fox.

IU Swammer
Reply to  Justanopinion
10 months ago

I’m no expert, but I don’t see Notre Dame making the jump. But adding tradional rival USC means it makes more sense now than it ever has. If Stanford makes the jump, I’d tilt the other way. Plus, there’s the chance someone from the ACC crosses over that may further entice Notre Dame.

B1G Daddy
Reply to  IU Swammer
10 months ago

For scheduling and travel purposes, there will be more West Coast partners.

B1G Daddy
Reply to  Justanopinion
10 months ago

Well, considering Warren is now consulting with FOX President Mark Silverman regarding how to proceed with the content NBC is bidding on….

James Beam
10 months ago

2 thoughts:

Probably a long shot, but with all of this new revenue coming in from the BIg10, would UCLA upgrade their aquatic facilities & add a men’s swim/dive team? It is a crime that UCLA doesn’t have a program.

With 9 men’s teams in the Big10 with USC coming in, totally screws up conference champs for relays….one team will swim in their own heat…..

Reply to  James Beam
10 months ago

Title IX says ‘No’…..

Reply to  Hmm
10 months ago

James Beam – Title IX doesn’t say “no”. The presence of the football teams, taking up like 100 slots each, plus all the coaches, etc, and many of which have not won a championship in decades and do NOT bring in as much revenue as they cost to maintain, are what’s keeping some of these schools from bringing back mens teams in swimming and other sports. Don’t blame women and their right to equal funding for this.

Reply to  BigTenSwammer
10 months ago

funding should be equal by sport.

IU Swammer
Reply to  James Beam
10 months ago

Nah, they’ll do a heat of 4 and a heat of 5.

James Beam
Reply to  IU Swammer
10 months ago

ah good point! Makes sense.

Reply to  James Beam
10 months ago

UCLA has a new pool with towers. Facility is excellent. They should add men’s swimming and diving back with all the extra money they are getting. It would seem to me that Bruin alums that love Westwood and the great swimming rivalries of the PAC 8, then PAC 10, and now PAC 12 should ask to get their program back along with greater support for Water Polo and anything else that benefit their new facility.

Reply to  Bevo
10 months ago

The alumni have been trying for nearly 30 years to get mens swimming added back, with zero success. Sadly, it ain’t gonna happen.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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