UCLA jumping to the Big Ten Conference in 2024

Like crosstown rival USC, the UCLA Bruins are leaving the Pac-12 Conference to join the Big Ten Conference, beginning in 2024. It is a stunning development to see two of the pillars of the Pac-12 Conference departing from a long-held tradition.  

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and The Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond issued a joint statement to the Bruin community on the move. 

UCLA running back Demetric Felton Jr.
Demetric Felton Jr. accounted for 230 scrimmage yards versus the University of Arizona Wildcats at The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA. November 28th, 2020. Photo by UCLA Athletics.

“For the past century, decisions about UCLA Athletics have always been guided by what is best for our student-athletes, first and foremost, and our fans. Our storied athletics program, based in one of the biggest media markets in the nation, has always had unique opportunities and faced unique challenges. 

In recent years, however, seismic changes in collegiate athletics have made us evaluate how best to support our student-athletes as we move forward. After careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation, UCLA has decided to leave the Pac-12 Conference and join the Big Ten Conference at the start of the 2024–25 season.

UCLA has deeply valued our membership in the Pac-12 for many years, and we intend to be a member of the conference for the next two years. We have grown close to the other member schools and have tremendous respect for their commitment to the student-athlete experience. 

The Pac-12 has always shared our values and continues to innovate, working hard on behalf of its student-athletes and many fans. At the same time, each school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time. For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come.

May 27, 2021-The UCLA Bruins concluded their spring football camp on May 27, 2021. Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

As the oldest NCAA Division I athletic conference in the United States and with a footprint that will now extend from the Pacific to the Atlantic, 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.

Entry into the Big Ten will also help ensure that UCLA preserves and maintains all 25 current teams and more than 700 student-athletes in our program. Additionally, it means enhanced resources for all of our teams, from academic support to mental health and wellness. 

And although this move increases travel distances for teams, the resources offered by Big Ten membership may allow for more efficient transportation options. We would also explore scheduling accommodations with the Big Ten that best support our student-athletes’ academic pursuits.

For our fans, Big Ten membership equates to better television time slots for our road games, but the same number of home games either at the Rose Bowl, in Pauley Pavilion or other UCLA venues. We will make efforts to preserve our traditional regional rivalries and are pleased that our crosstown rival, USC, will also be joining the Big Ten in 2024–25. While we are fierce competitors on the field, we have a rich tradition of collaboration that we look forward to continuing.

UCLA versus Oklahoma college football
Sept. 14, 2019 – © Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline – UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) goes for extra yardage running the football against Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Bruins, 48-14, at the Rose Bowl.

We recognize these are big changes. We value the talent and dedication of our student-athletes as well as the passion of Bruins fans far and wide. The best way to respect that is to protect our program from the great uncertainty it would face if we did not make this transition. Because of our unique circumstances, we believe this is the right move for the UCLA Bruins and the right time. 

We hope you will share our enthusiasm as we take this step to preserve the legacy, tradition and high standards that have epitomized the UCLA Bruins for the century that has passed and the centuries that lie ahead.”

Source: UCLA Athletics

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