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UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024

UCLA football competes against USC. The two schools are reportedly planning to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten. (Sakshi Joglekar/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Jon Christon

June 30, 2022 11:39 a.m.

This post was updated July 4 at 8:51 p.m.

A major shakeup in the collegiate athletics landscape is underway.

UCLA and USC are leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten in 2024, according to official announcements from the respective athletic departments. The decision was finalized after the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors unanimously approved the move Thursday night.

“Seismic changes in collegiate athletics have made us evaluate how best to support our student-athletes as we move forward,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Martin Jarmond in a statement. “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 news was first reported by Jon Wilner of the Mercury News on Thursday morning and was later confirmed by Sports Illustrated, The Athletic and ESPN.

The move will mark the first change in the Pac-12 since Colorado and Utah joined the conference in 2011.

“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. “We’ve long been known as the Conference of Champions, and we’re unwavering in our commitment to extend that title.”

The two Los Angeles schools would join Texas and Oklahoma – who are set to move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference – in changing Power Five conferences in the last year.

According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, the “financial disparity” between the Pac-12 and the Big Ten is the potential move’s driving force. The Big Ten is in negotiations for a new television rights agreement with its current one set to expire in 2023.

The Big Ten and the Pac-12, along with the Atlantic Coast Conference, are currently in a conference “alliance” announced last summer.

“We recognize these are big changes,” Block and Jarmond said in the statement. “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.”

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Jon Christon | Sports senior staff
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
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