USC to join Big Ten Conference

USC will join the Big Ten Conference in 2024, leaving the Pac-12 after over 100 seasons, President Carol Folt announced in a communitywide email Thursday. 

“This decision was made after serious deliberation and analysis, and with great appreciation and respect for our Pac-12 colleagues with whom we have enjoyed a wonderful history and relationship,” Folt said. 

All sports except for beach volleyball, men’s volleyball and men’s and women’s waterpolo will now compete in the Big Ten, according to the Los Angeles Times

Folt said that the move to the Big Ten will “enable additional support” for student-athletes. 

“Our move to the Big Ten positions USC for long-term success and stability amidst the rapidly changing sports media and collegiate athletic landscapes,” Folt said. “Equally important, we are joining a conference that shares our values of academic excellence, athletic competitiveness and diversity and inclusion across all sports.”

The Big Ten primarily consists of schools in the Midwest region, meaning longer travel days for student-athletes. Folt said the University discussed this with the Big Ten in its considerations. 

“We are committed to devoting the necessary resources to ensure our student-athletes can continue to thrive in their coursework with minimal travel disruption,” Folt said. “We know the Big Ten shares our commitment to prioritizing student-athletes’ well-being and academic demands, and we are fortunate we can spend the next two years working with the conference on travel and scheduling plans.”

Crosstown rival UCLA is also joining the Big Ten, in a deal that sent shockwaves down the college athletics community. 

It is not yet clear in which divisions USC and UCLA will play or which Big Ten opponents they will face in their inaugural football seasons. 

Rumors swirled Thursday morning of the potential deal, until the Big Ten officially accepted USC’s application to the conference Thursday afternoon. 

This deal comes months after Texas and Oklahoma left the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference, marking a monumental change in the landscape of college football and raising questions on conference realignment’s impact on the College Football Playoff. 

USC will still compete in the Pac-12 for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.