The Big Ten just added two new members, picking up the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans from the Pac-12 in a landscape-shifting move.
Thursday was a landmark day for the Big Ten and college football as a whole after UCLA and USC officially gained entry into the conference.
College football realignment is not slowing down, that’s for sure.
So how did it come to this and what can fans expect going forward?
Why are USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for the Big Ten?
To put it simply: Money.
The Pac-12 has lagged behind other conferences in terms of revenue for years. Even though a new TV deal was set to be negotiated after 2024, the Big Ten’s offering simply dwarfs what the P12 could hope for at the top end.
USC and UCLA weren’t content with making no more than $30 million per year from media rights. Not they could make $100 million with the B1G.
The changing landscape of conference alignment also facilitated this move. Once Texas and Oklahoma made the jump to the SEC, it became clear that all roads to CFB power run through the SEC and the Big Ten. The Trojans and Bruins saw the writing on the wall and made the jump in anticipation of the inevitable mega-conference approach.
When will USC, UCLA join the Big Ten?
The two schools have officially been granted membership into the Big Ten but they won’t make the move until 2024. That means two football seasons until you see USC and Ohio State square off in conference play.
Will USC, UCLA join Big Ten in all sports?
No. While the two will join in all conference sports, that doesn’t mean all sports on offer at either university.
For instance, USC and UCLA’s beach volleyball, men’s volleyball and men’s and women’s water polo programs will not be part of the change because those are not sponsored competitions in the conference.
Are other schools joining Big Ten with USC, UCLA?
No. At least, not at this time.
Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times reported that “no other Pac-12 members are expected to be added to the Big Ten at this time.”
There may be interest from the likes of Oregon, Washington and others, but they will have to wait if they want to seek membership.