USC and UCLA are two of the pillar programs in the Pac 12, but last week both schools were notified that their applications to join the Big Ten had been accepted. With that news breaking, the 2022-23 season will last in the Pac 12 Conference. It was announced that both schools will begin to play in the Big Ten during the 2024 season.
The Big Ten said in a statement that the unanimous vote when the conference presidents and chancellors met to add both schools.
“The unanimous vote today signifies the deep respect and welcoming culture our entire conference has for the University of Southern California, under the leadership of President Carol Folt, and the University of California, Los Angeles, under the leadership of Chancellor Gene Block,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said per ESPN.
“College athletics is changing, and UCLA has always led in times of change. For the sake of our student-athletes, and for preserving the legacy of Bruin excellence, we cannot afford to stand still,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond told the network via text.
Also, Per ESPN, USC athletic director Mike Bohn called the Big Ten “the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports.”
“We are excited that our values align with the league’s member institutions,” Bohn said. “We also will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference; the athletic caliber of Big Ten institutions; the increased visibility, exposure, and resources the conference will bring our student-athletes and programs; and the ability to expand engagement with our passionate alumni nationwide.”
USC’s football coach Lincoln Riley said, “have been completely aligned with the vision of what our athletic department can be, while always putting our student-athletes first.”
“This move to the Big Ten Conference positions all of our teams for long-term success. “It provides our student-athletes with more exposure and new resources and challenges them with elite competition. USC Football is excited to compete in the Big Ten.”
On Saturday afternoon, following the BIG 3 in Frisco, Texas, USC alum and NBA Champion Brian Scalabrine was asked about the decision for USC and UCLA to move to the Big Ten.
“I don’t get why is it all for money? Is there more money in the Big Ten than in the Pac-12? Listen, I don’t understand any of it regarding money in college sports,” said Scalabrine.
“I don’t understand why we are throwing away history, but money is money. I guess this is how the world goes around, but I’m a little disappointed that it is happening. Plus, the travel schedule is going to be nuts, it is what it is, but I can’t fault the Universities for trying to make the most money possible.”
Scalabrine spent three years at USC from 1998-2001, when the conference was known as the Pac 10. In 2001, he was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the second round and would later win an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics during the 2007-08 season.
UCLA alum Ryan Hollins also weighed in on the announcement.
“Huge conference play will matter in route to national championships and recruiting,” said Hollins.
“We don’t have to wait till bowl games or March madness to see these matchups.”
Hollins spent four years at Westwood and would later get drafted in the second round of the 2006 Draft as the 50th pick by the Charlotte Bobcats.
As for the Pac 12, they released a statement saying, “extremely surprised and disappointed”
“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. “The Pac-12 is home to many of the world’s best universities, athletic programs, and alumni, representing one of the most dynamic regions in the United States. We’ve long been known as the Conference of Champions, and we’re unwavering in our commitment to extend that title.
“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 pioneer the future of college athletics together.”