CHICAGO – Over the past 30 years, the Big Ten hasn’t been afraid to expand the number of teams in their conference.
They’ve done so a little farther west with one school while a couple east coast programs have joined the primarily midwestern group that had 14 members through the 2021-2022 academic year.
Now the conference is having its most dramatic expansion to date as they will now establish a presence on the west coast.
On Thursday night, USC and UCLA both officially left the Pac-12 and joined the Big Ten, becoming the 15th and 16th full members of the conference. The member schools voted to accept both hours after reports broke that the move was close.
The Bruins and Trojans will join the Big Ten starting with the 2024-2025 academic year.
This would be another major conference shift in what has been a trend in major college athletics over the last decade. In 2021, Oklahoma and Texas both announced they would be leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC starting with the 2025-2026 academic year.
Expansion in the Big Ten is nothing new over the last generation with Penn State bringing the league to 11 teams when they joined in the early 1990s. Nebraska then moved to the conference in 2011 after they were in the Big 12, with Maryland (ACC) and Rutgers (American Athletic Conference) joining in 2014.
Two other schools are associate members of the conference: Notre Dame, which plays in the Big Ten men’s ice hockey, and Johns Hopkins, taking part in men’s and women’s lacrosse.