Report: USC, UCLA in negotiations to leave Pac-12 and join Big Ten
As he begins Year 2 on the job, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff has a potentially massive defection on his hands.
USC and UCLA are planning to leave the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten as early as 2024, according to multiple reports on Thursday and first reported by The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner. Wilner reported that the move has not been finalized yet, but negotiations are being had.
Source: USC and UCLA are planning to leave for the Big Ten as early as 2024. Move *has not been finalized* at the highest levels of power.
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) June 30, 2022
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported that discussions are being had and that the pair of Los Angeles schools made first contact.
Source tells me that there is a lot of truth to @wilnerhotline report about USC and UCLA in discussions to leave for the Big Ten. My understanding is USC and UCLA reached out to the Big Ten.. certain legal parameters and bylaws need to be followed for obviously legal reasons. https://t.co/2NSDv8YtWA
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) June 30, 2022
The implications are potentially disastrous for the Pac-12. With Lincoln Riley joining USC and the Trojan athletic department going all in on restoring the football program to its former glory, the Trojans appear positioned to contend for College Football Playoffs in the immediate future. UCLA is one of the most storied basketball programs in college athletics, if not the most.
Almost a year ago this time reports emerged that Oklahoma and Texas were planning to jump from the Big 12 to the SEC. That kicked off a period of instability for the Big 12, which has since changed commissioners, as many questioned the long-term sustainability of the conference without its two most visible programs.
If USC and UCLA do indeed leave, the same kinds of questions are now right at Kliavkoff’s doorstep.