USC, UCLA set to join Big Ten in 2024, expanding conference to 16 teams

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Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

The USC Trojans goes up against the UCLA Bruins. USC and USCLA has just been announced to be entering the Big Ten with University of Texas and University of Oklahoma leaving the Big Ten to the Pac-12 in 2024.

By Drew Friberg, Sports Editor

Summer is great for bringing about change in sports programs. With seniors moving on and fresh faces being brought in, personnel changes are growing even more increasingly common in modern collegiate athletics with the addition of the transfer portal. However, Thursday’s announcement, which saw the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans agree to join the Big Ten in 2024, brought about a conference realignment of unprecedented stature.

This follows the announcement that both the University of Texas-Austin and Oklahoma will be leaving the Big-12 conference in favor of joining the SEC. As for what’s next for the process, according to some sources, is simply a formality. Both UCLA and USC have to declare their intentions to leave the Pac-12 and the Big Ten presidents must come together to accept both schools into the conference after their application is processed.

For the third time in 11 years, the Big Ten will expand. In 2011, the conference housed just 11 teams, consisting of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa before adding Nebraska to the roster. 

In 2014, the Big Ten expanded again, this time welcoming two East coast schools in Maryland and Rutgers, exemplifying the conference’s desire to keep growing, despite housing four more teams than its name implies.

With the addition of the two Pac-12 powerhouses to the Big Ten in 2024, the once Midwestern conference now stretches from the shores of New Jersey to California, while displaying some of the highest levels of collegiate athletics the NCAA has to offer.

UCLA and USC also open up a huge new TV market for the Big Ten Network, reaching local Los Angeles and West coast stations like the Big Ten has never before. Undoubtedly a factor in the teams’ approval to join, the new TV market will benefit all existing schools in the Big Ten as well.

Mixed social media reviews have left fans of the Big Ten excited, but also scratching their heads. Only time will tell if the LA presence in the Big Ten is a good fit.

 

@DrewFriberg9

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