ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

Jul 1, 2022, 2:04 PM

The Pac-12 is looking into expanding following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.

“The Pac-12 board of directors met this morning and authorized the conference to explore all expansion options,” the Pac-12 said in a statement Friday.

“The 10 university presidents and chancellors remain committed to a shared mission of academic and athletic excellence on behalf of our student-athletes.”

USC’s and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten will happen after the Pac-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN expire in 2024. The deal will make the Big Ten the first conference to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Friday that Pac-12 presidents and athletic directors were frustrated and surprised during a Thursday night call and that the conference is “prioritizing who is in and can be counted on to recalibrate the league, which is on the cusp of a TV negotiation.”

The announcement came almost a year after Oklahoma and Texas formally accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference in July 2025.

“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 Pac-12 said in a statement Thursday. “The Pac-12 is home to many of the world’s best universities, athletic programs and alumni, representing one of the most dynamic regions in the United States.

“We’ve long been known as the Conference of Champions, and we’re unwavering in our commitment to extend that title. We will continue to develop new and innovative programs that directly benefit our member institutions, and we look forward to partnering with current and potential members to pioneer the future of college athletics together.”

University of Arizona president Dr. Robert Robbins and director of athletics David Heeke added in a Friday statement that there were “extremely disappointed” in the decisions from USC and UCLA.

USC and UCLA stand to significantly increase their revenues. The Pac-12 distributed only $19.8 million per school in fiscal year 2021, by far the least among Power 5 conferences. The Big Ten’s per-school distribution was $46.1 million, second only to the SEC’s $54.6 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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