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USC, UCLA plan move from PAC-12 to Big Ten in 2024

LOS ANGELES -- PAC-12 powerhouses in University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles have announced they leaving the conference to join the Big Ten, officials confirmed Thursday.

The PAC-12 Conference's official Twitter page posted a response to the news early Thursday evening.

"While we are extremely surprised and disappointed about the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in academics, athletics and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we're confident will continue to thrive and grow into the future," the statement read. 

First reported by PAC-12 reporter Jon Wilner, the deal has not been finalized and is in stages of negotiation, though new reports indicate that the finalization may be announced by Friday. 

It would be the first move for the conference since 2010 when University of Utah and University of Boulder, Colorado accepted invitations to join in 2011 and 2012, respectively. 

USC joined the conference 100 years ago in 1922, when it was called the Pacific Coast Conference. UCLA joined shortly after in 1928. In the history of the PAC, the Trojans are far and away the winningest member, securing 39 conference titles and six national championships in that century span, most recently in 2004.

The Bruins on the other hand have won 17 conference titles and one national championship in 1954.

The Big Ten is the oldest recognized conference in college football, with current members including University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University and University of Wisconsin amongst others. 

Adding USC and UCLA would bring the conference to 16 teams, same as the Southeastern Conference (SEC) after their move with University of Oklahoma and University of Texas is completed in 2025. 

In essence, the move could shake NCAA football up in a major fashion, as prior to the move, conferences were generally regionally decided. Two West Coast teams heading to a predominantly Mid-West dominated Big Ten opens the door for other schools to look into doing the same to better fit team and financial needs. 

The potential move upset Trojan football fans like USC alumni Naveen Jethwani.

"I think if you're alumni and you're older and busy with families, you can get away for the weekend," he said. "But going to Pennsylvania or Michigan it's not going to happen as much. And think how expensive it's going to be for the average fan to travel. They're not going to do it."

Others like former Trojan football player John Walker said he's torn on the move but USC needs to evolve. Walker said that with the addition of name, image and likeness policies, being in a more competitive conference would help recruit higher profile athletes. 

"I think that matters especially with California and Los Angeles," he said. "Being such a big media market and us bolstering all of the notoriety that we have. USC as an institution, I think, we deserve to be at the head of the table."

This is the second earth-shattering move from USC football since the offseason began, after signing former University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley to take over the helm. 

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