COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Big Ten is getting bigger, again.

The 14-member conference, including Ohio State, unanimously approved the addition of UCLA and Southern California as members.

The two California schools, who are long-time members of the Pac-12, announced they will join the Big Ten in 2024.

Ohio State reaction

We are excited about the opportunity this new partnership represents for The Ohio State University and for our student-athletes to compete with their peers from two storied athletics programs. USC and UCLA are leading research universities that will enhance the Big Ten Conference in the classroom and on the field of competition. More than 25,000 alumni of Buckeye Nation call the state of California home and will soon have the chance to deepen their connections to the student-athletes who run, pass, swim and play in the sports they love.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith and Ohio State president Kristina Johnson

Big Ten reaction

The unanimous vote today signifies the deep respect and welcoming culture our entire conference has for the University of Southern California . . . and the University of California, Los Angeles.

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.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren

Pac-12 reaction

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.

Pac-12 statement

Meanwhile, USC football coach Lincoln Riley tweeted Thursday evening: “Excited to be a part of this historic move. Can’t wait.”

I am beyond thrilled that USC will be joining the Big Ten Conference. We are thankful to the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors and Commissioner Kevin Warren for the opportunity to become a member of the oldest and most storied conference in the country. We will officially begin our membership in August 2024.

USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn

Big Ten membership offers Bruins exciting new competitive opportunities and a broader national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talents. Specifically, this move will enhance Name, Image and Likeness opportunities through greater exposure for our student-athletes and offer new partnerships with entities across the country.

UCLA chancellor Gene Block and Athletic Director martin Jarmond

Even though the conference has traditionally been considered a Midwest league, expansion in the past 35 years has brought Penn State in 1990, Nebraska in 2011, and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.

The current membership consists of:

  • Ohio State
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern
  • Penn State
  • Purdue
  • Rutgers
  • Wisconsin

UCLA and USC coming east is the latest move in major conference realignment, which began when Texas and Oklahoma announced they would leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2025, bringing the SEC to 16 members.

Since then, the Big 12 added four schools that hadn’t been part of a major conference and some smaller conferences adjusted ranks, but this would be the first time since then that schools from a major league have left to join another one.

The Pac-12 has not had any membership changes since 2011.

It’s unclear how UCLA and USC joining the Big Ten will impact the alliance made between the Big Ten, ACC and Pac 12 less than a year ago.

UCLA Athletic Director Marin Jarmond has a close connection with Ohio State where he served as deputy director of athletics, moving up the ranks after arriving as an associate athletic director for development in 2009.

During his time at Ohio State, he was the lead administrator for a variety of sports, including football and men’s basketball, and directed external and internal relations and day-today operations. He also had responsibility for football scheduling, served on the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Committee, and was a member of the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Advisory Group and the Rose Bowl Advisory Committee.

As Ohio State Athletics’ chief advancement officer, Jarmond helped raise more than $120 million between 2010-2012.