USC, UCLA plan to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024, with announcement imminent

Pac-12 powerhouses USC and UCLA are finalizing talks to leave the conference for the Big Ten as early as the 2024 sports season, say CBS Sports sources Matt Norlander and Dennis Dodd. While the move isn’t official just yet, it appears the Big Ten are aiming for a significant acquisition that will change the collegiate sports landscape.

An announcement expected to address USC and UCLA’s intentions is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET, sources close to the situation say Dodd.

“Everything is on the table,” a Pac-12 source tells Norlander.

According to The Athletic, Big Ten presidents and athletic directors met Wednesday night to discuss adding USC and UCLA to the league.

USC and UCLA’s transition to the Big Ten would be similar to the one that rocked collegiate sports last summer when Texas and Oklahoma opted to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, a move that will occur ahead of the 2025 season target.

That sparked a realignment bonanza, with the Big 12, American and other conferences seeing teams move in and out of their membership. A similar situation is likely to occur here as USC and UCLA formalize their intentions to abandon the Pac-12. The move would also represent a startling divergence in direction for UCLA and Cal, partners in the University of California system.

Acquiring the Trojans and Bruins would transform the Big Ten from a Midwest conference to one that stretches to the West Coast. It would be a significant shift in the collegiate sports landscape at the Power Five level, which has been largely localized with teams primarily belonging to leagues in their geographic area.

USC and UCLA would bring the Big Ten to 16 teams total, the same number as the SEC once Texas and Oklahoma are added to their group. The ACC has 14 teams while the Big 12 settle at 12 with BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF in the group after UT and OU departed.

That acquisition would be a major coup for Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, the first Power Five chief to cancel the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes less than a year after the Big Ten and Pac-12 — along with the ACC — announced a strategic alliance after the SEC added Texas and Oklahoma. That alliance was substantial from the start, and the Big Ten’s poaching of two Pac-12 powers only further undermines the notion that the leagues will work together to combat the SEC’s growing power in collegiate sports.

With Pac-12’s media rights deal ending in 2024 and the Big Ten in the thick of it Negotiating a new media rights deal which could start as early as next season and reportedly exceed $1 billion a year, the timing for such discussions is natural. The expiration of this Pac-12 deal should leave USC and UCLA with a minor financial burden should they ultimately decide to head to the Big Ten.

Jon Wilner of San Jose Mercury-News first reported that USC and UCLA were planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.