EVAN BLAND Omaha World-Herald
USC and UCLA will officially join the Big Ten Conference starting with the 2024-25 season, marking perhaps the biggest seismic and historic shift amid the ever-changing landscape of college athletics. .
The shocking news was made public around seven o’clock on Thursday when two top Pac-12 Conference schools were reportedly interested in changing tournaments to individual schools and the league officially acknowledged the destination. in their future at the end of business hours on the West Coast.
The Big Ten Board of Presidents and Principals voted unanimously to accept each school’s application on Thursday night. And while the news sent shockwaves through college sports, national reports indicate – and the Big Ten confirmed – the move has been underway for weeks.
A source told The Athletic that each school was asked two weeks ago to do a feasibility study on adding USC and UCLA.
The feedback, obviously, is positive.
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Now, the Big Ten joins the SEC as a 16-team league, with just a real nationwide footprint from the Jersey Shore to Malibu Beach. Los Angeles-based schools will bring with them every sport the Big Ten participates in when they become full members on August 2, 2024.
“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we enter the new world of team sports,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in a statement. . “
USC and UCLA are said to have approached the Big Ten with the desire to join and become the league’s first new schools since adding Rutgers and Maryland in 2014 and Nebraska in 2011 in the early stages of re-introduction. conference. The move is also seen as a response to the SEC taking Texas and Oklahoma out of the Big 12 Conference last summer and a step closer to having the SEC and Big Ten separate themselves financially and in total. membership with everyone else, including their other Power Five. peers.
The additions could also be the reason why the Big Ten has yet to announce plans to keep or get rid of the football divisions while other leagues including the Pac-12 and ACC have scrapped them.
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Meanwhile, the conference is still in the process of negotiating a television rights deal with Fox and other studios, with previous estimates that they will rake in north of $1 billion in the next round of contracts. That number is now guaranteed to grow further with another major media market in Los Angeles and two branded universities. According to a report from Sports Business Journal, Apple has been contacted asking to re-cooperate in negotiations.
Such financial stability will be a boon for newcomers. The LA Times reported in January that UCLA’s Department of Sports had a loss of $62.5 million for fiscal year 2021.
“While this move increases travel distances for teams, the resources provided by Big Ten members could enable more efficient transportation options,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Sports Martin Jarmond said in a statement.
In theory, the transition could be relatively smooth for USC and UCLA as their granting of rights is related to the current Pac-12 TV agreement, which expires after the 2023-24 school year.
Multiple reports also indicate that the Big Ten expansion may not be over yet. Can the remaining members of the Pac-12 like Washington and Oregon change the leagues? What about other members of that conference like Stanford?
Notre Dame – the longtime celebrity of the Big Ten – may be making more appearances for a conference in football. Irish and their contract with NBC runs through at least 2025 with a $15 million annual deal. If NBC is part of the Big Ten’s new media rights deal in the future, it could help bridge the longstanding gap between the league and the school.
A source told ESPN: “It’s really unsustainable now to be an independent company.
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The two Pac-12 additions of their own were early moments in the Big Ten’s 126-year history, originally known as the Western Intercollegiate Conference, and provided a ripple effect throughout the tournament.
For Nebraska, the decision was made to move it from the convention’s western border to the geographic center. Husker administrators released a statement on Thursday night welcoming the Bruins and the Trojan.
“This is a historic and exciting day for the Big Ten Conference and the University of Nebraska,” Prime Minister Ronnie Green and athletic director Trev Alberts said in a joint statement. “The addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten is a bold, ambitious step in a moment of historic change in the college athletics scene. These organizations will add two world-class sports divisions and brands to the Big Ten and stretch the Convention’s footprint from coast to coast. “
The statement also cites a large number of NU alumni in California who can view the game and its successful recruiting history in the state.
“For the University of Nebraska, there are many positives associated with this expansion,” the statement said. “UNL has a large alumni base in California who will have the great opportunity to regularly watch our teams compete at historic Southern California sports venues. Nebraska has a history of success in the sport. recruiting athletes from California and this will only raise Nebraska’s profile in a fertile recruiting ground.We welcome UCLA and USC to the Big Ten Conference and look forward to competing with them. Future. “
The Pac-12’s next move remains unclear. It could look to add current or future Big 12 members including BYU or try to stand up. The conference was part of a so-called “Alliance” with the Big Ten and the ACC last year.
That partnership, for all intents and purposes, is now defunct.
“While we are deeply surprised and disappointed by today’s news about UCLA and USC, we have a long and solid history in the sports, academic and sports fields,” Pac-12 said. at the forefront of supporting student-athletes that we are confident will continue to thrive and thrive in the future. “
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