Pac-12 Powers Reportedly Joining the Big Ten
Geography and math are officially out the window in college sports. Sources say USC and UCLA are in talks to bolt the PAC-12 and join the Big Ten conference. The Big Ten conference, which already has 14 teams, will now have 16. The move could happen as soon as 2024.
According to a media release from the Big Ten:
The Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously today to admit the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California to the Big Ten Conference effective August 2, 2024. Competition will begin for all conference sports in the 2024-25 academic year.
This marks the first Big 10 expansion since Maryland and Rutgers joined the conference in 2014. With northeasterners Penn State, Maryland and Rutgers already there, two west-coast additions put a once midwest-exclusive athletic conference all over the map.
In a separate statement, Iowa president Barbara Wilson endorsed the addition.
The addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten will enhance the conference’s existing comprehensive excellence in academics, research, and athletics. I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Iowa City and the UI campus
Ironically, USC's new football coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma last year after it was announced they would be switching conferences, along with Texas, from the Big 12 to the SEC. His new team is itself now exploring a change.
KCRG says this also strengthens a recent alliance between the Big 10, Pac-12, and ACC conferences that was set up as a "collaborative approach to charting the future of athletics". The alliance would allow for scheduling arrangements in some sports and have pooled resources to promote athlete welfare.
Here's the math, by the way, after this change:
- Big 10: 16 members
- Pac 12: 10 members
- Big 12: 10 members (8, after Oklahoma and Texas leave...Cincinnati, Houston, BYU, and Central Florida set to join, which will make it...12 again?)
- SEC: 1,219 members (actually 16 after the addition of Oklahoma and Texas)
The addition of these two schools to Iowa's home conference came on the same day the Hawkeyes landed their most highly-coveted recruit in school history. Kadyn Proctor, offensive tackle for Southeast Polk chose Iowa over several top schools, including his other finalist, Alabama. Learn more about that signing here.