UCLA and USC are expected to drop Pac-12 to the Big Ten

Southern California and UCLA moved from Pac-12 to the Big Ten conference on Thursday, sparking another seismic remake of college sports competition and economic landscapes.

The maneuver came as the Big Ten, which now runs 14 universities, mainly on the Midwest route from Nebraska to New Jersey, was shut down in a new television deal that was expected to be one of the richest in college sports history.

Schools said Thursday they want to join the league in 2024.

The Big Ten labeling of the Southern California media market will undoubtedly establish it as the most powerful counterweight to the Southeastern Conference and further accumulate influence in an industry within the bombing. Politics And legally Pressures on the rights of athletes. The exit of UCLA and USC affects the Pac-12 conference, a proud league that has been counting schools in its rankings since the 1920s but has struggled in recent years with the Big Ten and the SEC to maintain momentum on the finance and field. Not even a year has passed since Oklahoma and Texas Decided to leave The big 12 conference for the SEC, which was recently the premier college football league. Their moves sparked a nationwide overhaul.

The membership lists of Big Ten and Pac-12 remained unchanged by confusion. The leagues, which have long been intertwined by the Rose Bowl, are urgently looking to check the SEC’s swelling, Joined the forces too With the Atlantic Coast Conference, another Power Five League, in some trouble.

Then came the Thursday deviations, which were discussed in secret for several months and were officially announced just hours after The Mercury News reported the possibility of changed beliefs.

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“This is an extremely volatile and uncertain era in the history of American college athletics,” USC Athletics Director Mike Bone said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to make sure USC is well-positioned and ready for whatever happens next, and that we always have the opportunity to evaluate potential changes and make changes when needed.

UCLA officials made a similar case in an open letter.

“Pac-12 always shares our values ​​and continues to innovate, working hard for its student-athletes and many fans,” wrote University President Jean Black and its athletics director Martin Jormond. “At the same time, each school faces its unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best course of action for UCLA at this time.

One person familiar with the discussions, who spoke anonymously because the talks were private, said the UCLA and USC had approached Big Ten about the possibility of joining the league. The sequence of events is important for legal reasons, especially in a field governed by contracts and laws that cost schools millions of dollars a year at Power Five conferences.

If both the Big Ten and the SEC expand as expected, there will be at least 16 universities at each conference over the next few years, including some of the most popular brands in college sports. Big Ten members already include Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Ben State and Wisconsin.

The additions of USC and UCLA will definitely add to Big Ten’s status and its television ratings. The two Los Angeles Universities have a long history of attracting attention to the various forms of Pac-12 for their athletic excellence over the decades.

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USC has long been the owner of Marquee College football on the West Coast, with a long list of national championship teams carrying the Trojan symbol up and down at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Heisman Trophy winners and its unique white horse traveler.

Across the city in Westwood, UCLA presents a similar position in men’s basketball, with the Bruins playing under 11 national championship banners at the Poly Pavilion and boasting a rich list of alumni who have played in the NBA.

USC plans to launch Lincoln Riley, former coach of Oklahoma, Won a share of two national titles in the early 2000s and is a low footballing force compared to the perennial competition for others under coach Pete Carroll. The UCLA football team has been battling for county relevance in recent years. But with the strong presence in the country’s second-largest television market and soft access to one of its richest recruitment sites, schools are hanging out with numerous benefits to Big Ten.

In recent years, as the fortunes of Pac-12 in football have waned — and the league has been hit by a television deal that pays its schools millions of dollars less per year than the Big Ten deal — schools like Alabama and Ohio, Georgia and Clemson have routinely cut Southern California for elite talent.

Beyond football and men’s basketball, the UCLA and USC are the so-called Olympic powers. USC, for example, has won national championships in beach volleyball, women’s outdoor track and field and men’s tennis over the past decade. UCLA, for its part, has won recent titles in baseball, beach volleyball, women’s gymnastics, women’s football, softball and women’s tennis. Both schools have won titles in water polo, which is not a Pac-12-sponsored sport for men or women.

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State College from Los Angeles, Pa. New Brunswick, NJ; And College Park, MD, for competition.

This deal could cast a shadow over the tenure Kevin WarrenThe Big Ten commissioner since 2019, who has been the subject of criticism since the start of his league in 2020 Decided not to play Autumn football season due to infection. Although the conference eventually reversed its decision and staged a portion of the games it had planned, the episode follows Warren. (The Bag-12, under Larry ScottCanceled and revived its 2020 football season.)

At the same time, the departures of the USC and UCLA pose a sharp test George Kliavkov, Became the commissioner of the Pak-12 a year ago. Last August, after decisions made by Oklahoma and Texas, the league said it had no plans to expand “at this time”, in part due to “the current competitive strength and integration of our 12 universities”.

In a statement on Thursday, Pac-12 said it was “very surprised and disappointed” by the day’s progress and suggested that it be open to adding members.

For now, at least, conference members include California, Oregon, Stanford, Utah and Washington.

Kevin Dropper Contributed report.

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