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.
University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel and Director of Athletics Mark Coyle have issued the following statements about this historic news.
University of Minnesota President, Joan Gabel:
“The additions of USC and UCLA align perfectly with the Big Ten’s academic and athletic culture. These are two of the most prestigious institutions in the nation and they are grounded in education and research. We are excited about future athletic competition and academic collaboration between 16 of the finest universities in the country.”
University of Minnesota Director of Athletics, Mark Coyle:
“I am excited for USC and UCLA to join the Big Ten and for our student-athletes to be able to compete in league play against the Trojans and the Bruins. USC and UCLA are two of the best and most competitive athletic departments in the nation and their presence will bolster the entire conference. These additions will also greatly enhance the student-athlete experience, expand the conference footprint from coast-to-coast and provide fans with compelling matchups and new travel destinations. This is an exciting day for Minnesota, USC, UCLA and the Big Ten.”
(info courtesy of Big Ten Conference and University of Minnesota)