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UCLA and USC will officially join the Big Ten Conference in 2024

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 UCLA at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans will officially join the Big Ten Conference in 2024. The two Pac-12 schools made the announcement official on Thursday night after news of the potential move leaked earlier in the day.

The Big Ten Conference has formally voted to extend membership to UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and USC (University of Southern California) effective Aug. 2, 2024 as full members of the Big Ten. The two Los Angeles area schools will remain in the Pac-12 through the end of the conference’s existing media rights deal that expires on that date and then will become members of the Big Ten following that move.

“Over the past three years, we have worked hard to ground our university decisions in what is best for our students,” USC President Carol L. Folt said. “With the Big Ten, we are joining a storied conference that shares our commitment to academic excellence and athletic competitiveness, and we are positioning USC and our student-athletes for long-term success and stability amidst the rapidly evolving sports media and collegiate athletics landscapes. We are delighted to begin this new chapter in 2024.”

“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports,” Athletic Director Mike Bohn said. “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 Big Ten institutions; the increased visibility, exposure, and resources the conference will bring our student-athletes and programs; and the ability to expand engagement with our passionate alumni nationwide.”

The UCLA Chancellor, Gene Block, offered the following excerpt on the move as well:

“For the past century, decisions about UCLA Athletics have always been guided by what is best for our student-athletes, first and foremost, and our fans. Our storied athletics program, based in one of the biggest media markets in the nation, has always had unique opportunities and faced unique challenges. In recent years, however, seismic changes in collegiate athletics have made us evaluate how best to support our student-athletes as we move forward. After careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation, UCLA has decided to leave the Pac-12 Conference and join the Big Ten Conference at the start of the 2024–25 season.”

The move is quite shocking as USC was a founding member of the Pac-12 Conference, and it is unclear what happens now to the Pac-12. For that matter, it is unclear if the Big Ten is immediately done with expansion to 16-teams or might further grow in the coming weeks, months or years. For all of the critics of Kevin Warren out there, this move seemed to blindside everyone as much or possibly even more so than Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC did last year.

Michigan State President Samuel Stanley offered the following remarks:

“We are very excited to add two outstanding schools to the Big Ten Conference, not only creating a more competitive atmosphere for our student-athletes but also increasing MSU’s exposure nationwide. Both USC and UCLA are excellent competitors, which we welcome, and they share our value of creating a strong student-athlete experience. Even more, they are also leading academic institutions, members of the Association of American Universities, with robust research prowess. They make our conference stronger in multiple ways. I support this expansion of the conference and the benefits it will bring to MSU.”

Michigan State Vice President/Director of Athletics Alan Haller offered the following remarks on the news as well:

“We are excited to welcome UCLA and USC to the Big Ten Conference. College athletics is changing, and bold action is required. This move further strengthens the Big Ten and Michigan State, and will benefit our student-athletes with additional opportunities and exposure. Michigan State is a national brand and has a strong base of alumni and fans in California, specifically in the Los Angeles area. We look forward to competing against these two premier institutions.”

In the meantime, start saving up those frequent flier miles now in case you want to start catching Michigan State Spartans athletic events on the West Coast during Big Ten conference events. You sure will need them two years from now.