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BIG TEN Conference announces UCLA and USC are joining

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously today to admit the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California to the Big Ten Conference effective August 2, 2024. Competition will begin for all conference sports in the 2024-25 academic year.

After receiving written applications from the two universities, Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren, alongside conference athletics directors and the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, evaluated the applications based on a dynamic model weighting four primary principles with supporting criteria. The principles include academics and culture; student-athlete welfare, competition, and logistics; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports; and financial sustainability. The model allows the conference to analyze criteria in a strategic and effective manner.

“As the national leader in academics and athletics for over 126 years, the Big Ten Conference has historically evaluated its membership with the collective goal to forward the academic and athletic mission for student-athletes under the umbrella of higher education,” Commissioner Warren stated. “The unanimous vote today signifies the deep respect and welcoming culture our entire conference has for the University of Southern California, under the leadership of President Carol Folt, and the University of California, Los Angeles, under the leadership of Chancellor Gene Block. I am thankful for the collaborative efforts of our campus leadership, athletics directors and Council of Presidents and Chancellors who recognize the changing landscape of college athletics, methodically reviewed each request, and took appropriate action based on our consensus.”

The Big Ten Conference has a lineage of transformation dating back to the historic meeting with seven university presidents on January 11, 1895, at the Palmer House in Chicago, Illinois. Those seven leaders created the blueprint for what grew into the modern intercollegiate sports model. Adding the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California continues the conference’s legacy of transformation and innovation in college athletics. The addition of the two universities remains subject to negotiation of final terms.

UI leaders support addition of UCLA, USC to Big Ten Conference:

University of Iowa leaders made the following statements in support of the addition of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC) to the Big Ten Conference.

“The addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten will enhance the conference’s existing comprehensive excellence in academics, research, and athletics,” said UI President Barbara Wilson. “I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Iowa City and the UI campus.”

The addition marks the first expansion since Maryland and Rutgers joined the conference in 2014 and increases Big Ten membership to 16 schools.

“We are excited about the addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten Conference. Both institutions fit our department’s “Win. Graduate. Do it right” culture,” said Gary Barta, the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair. “There are many logistics to work out over the coming months, and we are eager to begin the process.”

The Big Ten is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States.

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