USC and UCLA join Big Ten: Live news updates as Pac-12 powers kick start more conference realignment - CBS Sports

1 month ago 29

Big Ten university presidents voted Thursday night to accept the applications of USC and UCLA to join the conference, marking a seismic shift on the collegiate athletics landscape. The Trojans and Bruins will leave the Pac-12 for their new league in 2024 as the Big Ten expands from coast-to-coast with a move that rivals the SEC's poaching of Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12 last year.

The upcoming move comes as the Pac-12's media rights deal is set to expire in 2024 and while the Big Ten is negotiating a new media rights deal that could exceed $1 billion annually. As for the Pac-12, the shift puts the league and its commissioner, George Kliavkoff, in a precarious position. Thursday marked Kliavkoff's one-year anniversary on the job.

USC and UCLA are two of the Pac-12's most valuable brands, both in terms of success and visibility. Their entries into the Big Ten will create a second superconference along with the expanding SEC. Both will stand at 16 teams after USC and UCLA move to the Big Ten as Texas and Oklahoma enter the SEC, which is slated to happen in 2025.

As this latest realignment saga plays out, CBS Sports will continue covering this developing story with live updates below.


UCLA and USC accepted

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports confirms that USC and UCLA have been notified of their acceptance into the Big Ten, effective in 2024. This means the vote among Big Ten presidents went as expected. Historic day in college sports with untold fallout yet to come. Adding two enormous West Coast brands should only help the Big Ten as it negotiates its next media rights deal — one that was already rumored to be in excess of $1 billion per year even prior to the addition of the LA schools.

See New Posts


Pac-12 standing firm?

At this time, it appears no other Pac-12 members are presently planning to leave for the Big Ten. The LA Times reports that Oregon, Washington, Stanford and others will be staying put for now. Whether another league like the Big 12 may have interest -- or vice versa -- remains to be seen.


Next steps are coming

The remaining Pac-12 ADs and presidents will meet later today via phone to discuss next steps, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. Meanwhile, Big Ten presidents are scheduled to vote on, and accept, the membership applications from UCLA and USC this evening around 6 p.m, according to multiple reports. In the fast-moving world of realignment, this thing really could get announced by tonight. 


What about Notre Dame?

Any time conference realignment comes up, so does Notre Dame. If the Fighting Irish were to withdraw from the ACC, it could play football wherever it wants, according to ESPN's Heather Dinich. Notre Dame would have to pay exit fee and grant of rights fees for its other sports, however. Just something to chew on if expansion isn't over. 


Serious coin

How much money could USC and UCLA make through media rights payouts in the Big Ten? Both schools could reach -- or even top -- $100 million annually, according to the San Jose Mercury-News' Jon Wilner. The Big Ten has been in negotiations for its next media rights deal, which was reportedly getting into the billion-dollar range. The amount of money on the table is mind-boggling. 


More on timing

Today, June 30, would be the last day USC and UCLA could inform the Pac-12 they intend on leaving the conference if they want to avoid potential additional financial penalties, three sources tell CBS Sports' Matt Norlander. The active Pac-12 grant of rights expires on June 30, if you wanted to know why this is coming out today, there is your answer.


Geography factor

This move will create a geographical separation unlike anything ever seen within a major conference before. While conferences have become increasingly spread out over the last 25 years or so, the gap between member schools in the new Big Ten will literally be cross-continental, which is unprecedented for a major league. The distance between Rutgers and USC/UCLA will be roughly 2,770 miles by car and more than a 5-hour flight. A 7 p.m. kick in LA will be a 10 p.m. kick in a decent portion of the Big Ten. And a noon kick in much of the Big Ten will be at 9 a.m. kick in LA. While this is manageable in football with a little strategic scheduling, the travel costs and logistical hurdles for non-revenue sports will be immense.


Pac-12 side

Today marks exactly a year since Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff started the job. It's been a baptism by fire on the realignment front during that time, and there will certainly be little celebration at the league office today in light of this news. He came from a non-traditional background at MGM, and it's hard to say what he could have done to prevent this — even a seasoned collegiate athletics administrator in Bob Bowlsby was unable to prevent a similar poaching of the Big 12 — but in hindsight perhaps the Pac-12 should have been more proactive. Could the league have added some of the leftover Big 12 members or been more forward-thinking to keep USC and UCLA happy?


Announcement expected soon

Our Dennis Dodd reports that an announcement is expected this afternoon on this. Would mark the first official word from the Big Ten on it. Will be fascinating to see how the Pac-12 responds. When this happened to the Big 12, Bob Bowlsby started throwing haymakers in the press. Given how new George Kliavkoff is to the job, he may not have the deep relationships and same feelings of betrayal that Bowlsby did.


Media rights timing is key

The timing of this is fairly natural, both for the Pac-12 schools and the Big Ten. The Pac-12's current media rights deal expires in 2024, which is when USC/UCLA would reportedly leave. They can avoid a hefty exit/buyout fee by transitioning leagues at the same time the rights deal is up. The Big Ten, meanwhile, is in the midst of negotiating a new TV deal that would likely begin in 2023 which could reportedly be worth more than $1 billion per year. Adding USC and UCLA to that package certainly won't hurt.


End of The Alliance

Ironically, the Pac-12 was one of three prongs -- along with the ACC and Big Ten -- of a strategic alliance in response to the SEC's growth with Oklahoma and Texas last summer. The "unified" front (formed by the ACC's Jim Phillips, the Big Ten's Kevin Warren and the Pac-12's George Kliavkoff) was well-intended and pitched as a multi-point plan to help college athletes. However, bumbling messages and little progress eventually made it an afterthought. Now that the Big Ten is on the verge of poaching two powerhouse programs from the Pac-12, the Alliance is as good as dead ... after just 10 months.


Wednesday meeting solidified move

Multiple outlets have reported that Big Ten presidents and athletic directors met last night to discuss this possibility, and Sports Illustrated has reported that the vote was strongly in favor of adding UCLA/USC. SI's Ross Dellenger also reported that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is in London right now on league business, which just goes to show that college sports is a global enterprise now. Great day for Warren, who didn't have much to put on his resume until this. Big power move.


USC, UCLA looking to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten

Conference realignment never stops. USC and UCLA are involved in discussions to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as the 2024 athletic season, according to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander. First reported by the San Jose Mercury-News' Jon Wilner, the seismic move is not yet final, but it would mark a significant shift in the college sports landscape at the Power Five level. USC and UCLA would bring the Big Ten to a total of 16 teams -- the same number as the SEC following the equally-stunning news from a year ago that Oklahoma and Texas would be leaving the Big 12 to join. 

Read Entire Article