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Ohio State officials address USC, UCLA joining Big Ten conference

The two west coast teams will join the conference in 2024 once their media contracts with Fox and ESPN have concluded.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith and President Kristina Johnson on Friday discussed USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten Conference.

You can watch the full press briefing in the video player below. 

The two west coast teams will join the conference in 2024 once their media contracts with Fox and ESPN have concluded.

Ohio State released a statement Thursday night about the move, saying it's excited about the two programs joining the conference.

“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.”

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

The Big Ten is building on previous expansion into the nation's largest media markets, and the move allows the conference to keep pace with the SEC as one of the most powerful entities in college sports.

The Big Ten has expanded twice in recent years, with Nebraska joining in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.

USC and UCLA fit the Big Ten’s academic profile. Both schools are among the 65 members of the Association of American Universities, which is made up of top research universities. All Big Ten schools except Nebraska are members.

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