BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The world of college athletics was blindsided on Thursday with the announcement of plans by UCLA and USC to join the Big Ten Conference.
Both schools have been notified that their application to join the Big Ten has been accepted by the conference. Both Indiana University president
Pamela Whitten and athletic director Scott Dolson are overjoyed by the move, saying in a joint statement that the “arrival (of both schools) will strengthen the Big Ten’s long-standing reputation as the preeminent conference in all intercollegiate athletics.”
Purdue University is also welcoming the two schools to the conference with various social media posts.
Indiana and Purdue have played USC just eight times combined in football and neither team has played USC since 1998.
Both USC and UCLA will leave the Pac-12 Conference and begin competing in Big Ten competition as early as 2024.
“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said. “We are excited that our values align with the league’s member institutions. We also will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference.”
“From increased exposure and a broader national platform for our student-athletes to enhanced resources for our teams, this move will help preserve the legacy of UCLA Athletics for generations to come,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said.
USC and UCLA have a history of jumping conferences in tandem. In 1959 the pair left the long-defunct Pacific Coast Conference to join what would eventually become the Pac-8, and then the Pac-10 and Pac-12.