USC, UCLA jump to Big Ten (you read that right). So what’s next for Big 12 and Pac-12?

·2 min read
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The next wave of college sports realignment will create a conference that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Southern California and UCLA to the Big Ten is happening. The Big Ten made the announcement Thursday, and the schools will begin life in their new conference home in 2024.

The Pac-12 was stunned by the move.

“While we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in athletics, academics, and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we’re confident will continue to thrive and grow into the future,” the league said in a statement. “... We look forward to partnering with current and potential members to pioneer the future of college athletics together.”

The USC/UCLA move to the Big Ten counters the SEC’s recent acquisition of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 and further widens the brand and marketability gap between the SEC and Big Ten and the other Power Five conferences.

Adding the Los Angeles schools also creates the nation’s most far-flung conference, stretching from the West Coast to New Jersey (Rutgers) and Maryland.

What’s more, the move could certainly affect other conferences. The Big 12 already has announced plans to bring in newcomers Houston, Brigham Young, Cincinnati and Central Florida.

Would schools in a reduced Pac-12 look to leave, or could the two conferences create some type of alliance?

Those figure to be issues of interest to Brett Yormark, who earlier this week was named to succeed Bob Bowlsby as the Big 12’s commissioner.

The league’s television contract expires after the 2024-25 school year, and although Texas and Oklahoma are bound by contract to remain in the league until then, perhaps the SEC will attempt to get those schools into their new league sooner.