ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference will get bigger in two years, after it was voted Thursday to add the University of Southern California and UCLA.
The two colleges will make the jump from the Pac-12 conference after the 2023-2024 season, raising the members of the Big Ten Conference to 16.
Indiana University and Purdue University are both in the Big Ten. IU officials called it a great day for the school with news of the acceptance of USC and UCLA.
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.Statement from IU Pres. Pamela Whitten and Vice Pres./Dir. of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson
USC and UCLA will become full members of the Big Ten Conference effective August 2, 2024. This expansion happens right after the Pac-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN expire.
“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 landscape,” said USC President Carol L. Folt in a statement about the move. “We are delighted to begin this new chapter in 2024.”
In a statement, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the decision to change conferences offers their program new competitive opportunities and a broader national media platform for student-athletes to showcase their talents.
“Specifically, this move will enhance Name, Image and Likeness opportunities through greater exposure for our student-athletes and offer new partnerships with entities across the country,” said Block. “Additionally, it means enhanced resources for all of our teams, from academic support to mental health and wellness.”
Block acknowledged this would mean an increase in travel distances for team, but added Big Ten membership may allow for more efficient transportation options.
Among current members, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska would be the closest to the two new additions. Rutgers University in New Jersey the farthest, meaning a transcontinental trip for games.
The addition of USC and UCLA will make the Big Ten Conference the first Division I collegiate athletic conference to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
“We recognize these are big changes. We value the talent and dedication of our student-athletes as well as the passion of Bruins fans far and wide,” said UCLA’s Chancellor Block. “The best way to respect that is to protect our program from the great uncertainty it would face if we did not make this transition.”
The Big Ten has expanded twice in recent years, with Nebraska joining in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.