CHICAGO — Ahead of the addition of two more teams to the conference in a year, the Big Ten may be looking west again to increase its membership.
Per a report from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, a group of presidents in the conference have begun “exploratory discussions” on expanding again. This comes as the Big Ten gets ready to welcome UCLA and USC to the conference beginning with the 2024-2025 academic year.
Per Wetzel, this comes in light of the instability in the Pac-12, which lost both of those schools and will have Colorado leave next year as well. The report has the conference eyeing Oregon and Washington as potential future members with the possibility of adding California and Stanford.
All four would expand the conference to 20 teams, but all discussions, according to the report, are preliminary.
The Big Ten has yet to respond for comment.
Conference realignment has been a major topic for the past few in major college athletics with teams changing their affiliations more often than in the past. The Big Ten’s venture west was one of the major moments in this trend and if the conference is able to get more teams from the Pac-12, it could put that league in danger of collapse.
This also comes as the Rosemont-based Big Ten is starting a new seven-year, $7 billion media rights package with CBS, Fox, and NBC.
Expansion is nothing new for the Big Ten, which has had a few additions in its history.
- 1990 – Penn State
- 2011 – Nebraska
- 2014 – Maryland and Rutgers
- 2024 – UCLA and USC
Johns Hopkins (men’s and women’s lacrosse) and Notre Dame (men’s ice hockey) are affiliate members of the conference.
The University of Chicago is the only school to drop out of the Big Ten, having done so in 1946 after making the decision for academic reasons. The Maroons were a charter member of the conference when it was founded in 1896.