College hoops insider explains why the Big Ten getting UCLA is a 'huge win'
With much of the coverage on what USC brings to the Big Ten from a football standpoint, don’t forget about the blue blood college basketball program the Big Ten also just nabbed.
The Bruins are one of the all-time winningest programs in college basketball history. They own NCAA records with 11 national titles, 25 Final Four wins, and 134 weeks spent as the No. 1 national team in the AP Top 25. For all those reasons, Andy Katz called the addition a huge win for the Big Ten during a recent appearance on the Big Ten Network.
“There is no bigger brand, I think, in college sports than those four letters,” Katz told BTN. “Because of the John Wooden era of 10 straight national championships, everyone knows UCLA. By the way, for those of us that have college-aged high school students who are trying to go to college, UCLA is the most applied to school in the country. That’s how popular it is. Over 100,000 applications.
“So, you’re adding a brand that is incredibly popular (and) has a great alumni base. If there’s any kind of criticism, constructively, it has not been a great traveling alumni base if they’re in L.A. to other parts of the Pac-12, but that’s a minor little thing we could pick on.
“For the most part, I think this is a huge win for a variety of reasons, not just historically, but in the present tense. Here in two seasons I fully expect them to be in the thick of the upper tier of the Big Ten on a regular basis.”
The Bruins announced last Thursday they plan to join the Big Ten alongside USC in the summer of 2024 when the Pac-12’s current media rights deal expires.
That news sent shockwaves through college athletics and jumpstarted the current round of conference realignment chaos we find ourselves in. With their departures, the Pac-12 takes a major hit. But for UCLA specifically, the move is a shrewd one from athletic director Martin Jarmond and chancellor Gene Block.
It has been reported that Big Ten members, UCLA included, could see a nine-figure payout from the Big Ten as part of its next media rights deal. The league is expected to secure revenue that tops $1 billion a year from its next deal, and that financial stability will be hugely beneficial to the Bruins moving forward.
UCLA gets financial assurances and the chance to play in what will be one of the best football and basketball leagues in the country, the Big Ten gets one of the few blue bloods in college basketball and the coveted L.A. market. Like Katz said, a big win all around.