LOS ANGELES – The University of Southern California will take the historic step of joining the Big Ten Conference in 2024, a move that will position USC and its student-athletes for long-term success in both athletics and academics.
“Over the past three years, we have worked hard to ground our university decisions in what is best for our students,” said USC President Carol L. Folt. “With the Big Ten, we are joining a storied conference that shares our commitment to academic excellence and athletic competitiveness, and we are positioning USC and our student-athletes for long-term success and stability amidst the rapidly evolving sports media and collegiate athletics landscapes. We are delighted to begin this new chapter in 2024.”
The Big Ten Conference has voted to accept both USC and crosstown rival UCLA as full members of the conference effective August 2, 2024, enabling both schools to remain in the Pac-12 Conference for the duration of the Pac-12’s existing media rights agreements.
“Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports,” 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; the athletic caliber of Big Ten institutions; the increased visibility, exposure, and resources the conference will bring our student-athletes and programs; and the ability to expand engagement with our passionate alumni nationwide.”
USC also shared that, beginning this upcoming academic year, all student-athletes, whether on scholarship or not, will have the opportunity to receive up to $5,980 annually in direct financial support in the form of academic achievement awards, consistent with the Supreme Court’s recent Alston ruling. The specific details and criteria for the Alston awards will be disclosed prior to the start of the upcoming fall semester.
USC has more than 550 student-athletes who compete in 21 sports, and they are supported by more than 250 coaches and staff. Trojan teams have won 134 national championships, and men and women have taken home 483 individual NCAA titles. The USC football program, which competes in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, has won 11 national championships, competed in 34 Rose Bowls (with 25 wins), and produced 519 NFL draft picks. USC athletes also have won 326 Summer Olympics medals, with 153 of them being gold. In 2021, USC posted its highest-ever NCAA Graduation Success Rate (92 percent).
- Message from President Carol L. Folt to the USC Community
- Full statement from Athletic Director Mike Bohn
- Statement from USC Board Chair Suzanne Nora Johnson
Message from President Carol L. Folt to the USC Community
Dear Trojan Community,
I am writing with exciting news about the future for our student-athletes and university community. We are announcing today that USC will join the Big Ten Conference, with plans to begin membership in August 2024. This decision was made after serious deliberation and analysis, and with great appreciation and respect for our Pac-12 colleagues with whom we have enjoyed a wonderful history and relationship.
We have worked hard over the past three years to ground university decisions in what is best for our students. One of our priorities was to build a student-centric athletics program deeply committed to ensuring that all our student-athletes can compete at the highest level athletically and achieve at the highest level academically. We have made that a reality under our terrific athletic director, Mike Bohn, along with his leadership team, coaches, staff and, of course, our student-athletes.
Reflecting that commitment, we also announced today that all USC student-athletes — regardless of scholarship status — will have the opportunity to receive direct financial support in the form of Alston academic achievement awards beginning in the upcoming academic year.
Our move to the Big Ten positions USC for long-term success and stability amidst the rapidly changing sports media and collegiate athletic landscapes. Equally important, we are joining a conference that shares our values of academic excellence, athletic competitiveness and diversity and inclusion across all sports. The enhanced resources from this move will enable additional support for our student-athletes as well as benefit initiatives surrounding academics, accessibility and affordability.
In analyzing a move to the Big Ten, we thoughtfully considered the prospect of additional travel for our student-athletes. We are committed to devoting the necessary resources to ensure our student-athletes can continue to thrive in their coursework with minimal travel disruption. We know the Big Ten shares our commitment to prioritizing student-athletes’ well-being and academic demands, and we are fortunate we can spend the next two years working with the conference on travel and scheduling plans.
We are especially pleased that our crosstown rival, UCLA, will join us in the Big Ten in 2024. While we are fierce competitors on the field, we have a rich tradition of collaboration that we are excited to continue. As we begin to plan for our move, please know we will do everything we can to preserve the wonderful traditions and rivalries we have built in the Pac-12 that our students, alumni and fans have enjoyed for decades.
Please see statements on our move to the Big Ten from Mike Bohn and from Suzanne Nora Johnson, Chair of the USC Board of Trustees.
While today’s decision is the culmination of extraordinary efforts by so many, it is only the beginning of our journey to the Big Ten. Though we may not have every question answered today, we will by August 2024. In the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to all our constituencies to discuss our announcement in more detail and to offer opportunities to ask questions surrounding our future in the Big Ten.
I want to thank our entire Trojan Family — generations of loyal Trojans who have supported and loved USC for more than 100 years. We could not do what we do every day without you, and we hope you are as excited as we are about what’s to come.
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy and safe rest of the summer.
Carol L. Folt
Source: USC Athletics
UCLA to Join Big Ten Conference at Start of 2024-25 Season
UCLA will join the Big Ten Conference at the start of the 2024-25 season. Below is a message from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and The Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond.
Dear Bruin Community:
For the past century, decisions about UCLA Athletics have always been guided by what is best for our student-athletes, first and foremost, and our fans. Our storied athletics program, based in one of the biggest media markets in the nation, has always had unique opportunities and faced unique challenges. In recent years, however, seismic changes in collegiate athletics have made us evaluate how best to support our student-athletes as we move forward. After careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation, UCLA has decided to leave the Pac-12 Conference and join the Big Ten Conference at the start of the 2024–25 season.
UCLA has deeply valued our membership in the Pac-12 for many years, and we intend to be a member of the conference for the next two years. We have grown close to the other member schools and have tremendous respect for their commitment to the student-athlete experience. The Pac-12 has always shared our values and continues to innovate, working hard on behalf of its student-athletes and many fans. At the same time, each school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time. For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come.
As the oldest NCAA Division I athletic conference in the United States and with a footprint that will now extend from the Pacific to the Atlantic, Big Ten membership offers Bruins exciting new competitive opportunities and a broader national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talents. Specifically, this move will enhance Name, Image and Likeness opportunities through greater exposure for our student-athletes and offer new partnerships with entities across the country.
Entry into the Big Ten will also help ensure that UCLA preserves and maintains all 25 current teams and more than 700 student-athletes in our program. Additionally, it means enhanced resources for all of our teams, from academic support to mental health and wellness. And although this move increases travel distances for teams, the resources offered by Big Ten membership may allow for more efficient transportation options. We would also explore scheduling accommodations with the Big Ten that best support our student-athletes’ academic pursuits.
For our fans, Big Ten membership equates to better television time slots for our road games, but the same number of home games either at the Rose Bowl, in Pauley Pavilion or other UCLA venues. We will make efforts to preserve our traditional regional rivalries and are pleased that our crosstown rival, USC, will also be joining the Big Ten in 2024–25. While we are fierce competitors on the field, we have a rich tradition of collaboration that we look forward to continuing.
We recognize these are big changes. We value the talent and dedication of our student-athletes as well as the passion of Bruins fans far and wide. The best way to respect that is to protect our program from the great uncertainty it would face if we did not make this transition. Because of our unique circumstances, we believe this is the right move for the UCLA Bruins and the right time. We hope you will share our enthusiasm as we take this step to preserve the legacy, tradition and high standards that have epitomized the UCLA Bruins for the century that has passed and the centuries that lie ahead.
Gene D. Block
The Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics
Source: UCLA Athletics