After Oklahoma and Texas stunned the college athletics landscape by announcing their entry into the SEC last summer, USC and UCLA are reportedly taking a similar approach and departing from the PAC-12 conference to enter the Big Ten.
Jon Wilner of the Mercury News reported Thursday that USC and UCLA are planning to leave for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
While the schools have yet to finalize their decision, the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman and Yahoo Sport’s Pete Thamel have both confirmed via Twitter the move is all but complete with press conferences coming in the next 24 hours.
Relative to the rest of the major Power Five conferences, the PAC-12 has always fallen behind its peers in terms of payouts to member schools. By joining the Big Ten, USC and UCLA will add two of the biggest brands in college athletics to a conference that already contains powerhouses like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
“Adding USC and UCLA to the Big Ten might seem odd logistically and geographically, but it widens the conference's footprint with big-name schools,” noted ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren. He continued, “USC hired Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma and the Trojans have been in the news constantly. That renown, offensive prowess and recruiting success from Riley at USC is going to help the perception of the conference.”