USC and UCLA shake up the college sports landscape to join the Big Ten Conference

Both universities announced their intentions to switch conferences in separate statements on Thursday. The Pac-12 said it was “very surprised and disappointed” by the move.

They will join a conference with the University of Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State, creating a 16-member conference that rivals the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

A similar move rocked the college football world a year earlier, when the universities of Texas and Oklahoma accepted invitations from the Big 12 to join the SEC.

According to USC, the Big Ten voted to accept both universities as members beginning Aug. 2, 2024.

This change has major implications for upcoming media rights deals. USC says it will see its current contract with the Pac-12 through 2024.

“Ultimately, the Big Ten is a great place for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of college sports,” USC athletic director Mike Bone said in a statement. “We will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference, the athletic prowess of Big Ten institutions; increased visibility, exposure and resources for alumni across the country.”

UCLA’s report increased NIL opportunities for athletes within the conference, citing name, image and similar contracts. Last year, the NCAA sanctioned athletes Earn money by signing autographs or endorsement deals.

“Big Ten membership provides the Bruins with exciting new competitive opportunities and a broader national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talents. In particular, this move will enhance name, image and similar opportunities for our student-athletes through greater exposure and affordability. Country new partnerships with institutions across the board,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Black and Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond.

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UCLA highlighted “better television time slots for our road games,” while acknowledging the increase in travel time for away games.

The Current members of the Big Ten Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Rutgers.

The Big Ten released a statement saying it voted unanimously to accept both universities after weighing applications for admission.

“As a national leader in academics and athletics for more than 126 years, the Big Ten Conference has historically valued its membership under the umbrella of higher education with the collective goal of advancing the academic and athletic mission of student-athletes,” said Commissioner Kevin Warren. . “I am grateful for the collaborative efforts of our campus leadership, athletic directors and council of presidents and presidents who have recognized the changing landscape of college athletics, systematically reviewed each request, and taken appropriate action based on our consensus.”

In its statement, the Pac-12 said it would “continue to thrive” despite the departure of the two colleges.

“We have long been known as the conference of champions, and we remain unwavering in our commitment to extend that 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 help shape the future of collegiate athletics together.”

CNN’s Jacob Lev contributed to this report.

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