UCLA and USC announce PAC-12 departures in 2024

Courtesy+of+PAC-12+conference.

Courtesy of PAC-12 conference.

Ryan Harlan, Sports Contributor

The University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles announced Thursday evening in separate statements that they would be leaving the PAC-12 Conference to join the BIG-10 Conference in 2024.

The move to the BIG-10 Conference by both schools has been a year in the making and now has the PAC-12 Conference in an uncertain position beyond 2024.

This move comes almost a year after the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas announced they would be leaving the BIG-12 conference for the Southeastern Conference in 2025.

Both USC and UCLA  cited the same reasons for joining the BIG-10 conference, which include resources such as increased TV revenue and the exposure opportunities to an audience outside of the West Coast that would be brought to their schools.

There are issues to work out in this move for both schools regarding travel for each of the programs and how sports outside of football will be impacted financially from the move to the BIG-10, but both schools keep their biggest rivals in the same conference.

Losing both USC and UCLA on Thursday came as a surprise to members of the PAC-12 conference including Oregon State University. The PAC-12 Conference issued a statement following the news of both schools leaving the conference.

“While we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in athletics, academics, and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we’re confident will continue to thrive in the future,” said the PAC-12 Conference in a statement Thursday evening.

Both Oregon State University Interim President Becky Johnson and Oregon State Athletics Director Scott Barnes each issued statements about the departures of USC and UCLA as well.

“Oregon State University is surprised and disappointed by the decision of USC and UCLA to leave the Pac-12 Conference,” Johnson said. “OSU continues to strongly believe in the continuing strength of the Pac-12 Conference as a conference of champions made up of globally recognized Tier 1 research universities.”

Barnes shared similar sentiments with Johnson, stating that OSU and the PAC-12 Conference are all engaged in ongoing discussions to keep both institutions at the highest level of intercollegiate membership and competition nationally.

In the wake of the decision, the PAC-12 board of directors announced on Friday that they would explore all options for conference expansion but what that will look like remains to be seen. The next moves from the PAC-12 conference in coming days is currently unknown as they look to keep the remaining 10 members in the conference while navigating crafting a new media rights deal, which will be decided in 2024 along with minimizing the impacts of the departures of two flagship schools in the conference.