In what would be the latest massive sea change in college sports realignment, USC and UCLA are in negotiations to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten, sources told Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger. News of the potential move was originally reported by Jon Wilner of The Mercury News.
The schools first expressed interest in changing conferences several months ago, with talks ramping up in recent weeks. The move could be official as soon as Thursday, per Dellenger. The two schools approached the Big Ten expressing their intent to leave the Pac-12, asking if the conference wanted to take them in or not.
“You have to be a moron to not think about it,” a Big Ten source told Dellenger. “They would have gone somewhere else if we said ’no.’”
USC and UCLA have each been members of the Pac-12 for at least 94 years. A shift to the Big Ten would come on the heels of Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
The Pac-12 last expanded in 2011, when the league added Colorado and Utah. The Big Ten added Nebraska at that time and later added Maryland and Rutgers in 2014.
Earlier this month, James Crepea of The Oregonian asked Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff if he was concerned about schools leaving the league for the Big Ten.
“Absolutely not,” Kliavkoff said. “I have no concern about our schools. We had the opportunity when conference realignment was going on last summer to canvas our president and chancellors and it is clear to me that everyone who’s in the Pac-12 is committed to the Pac-12. I’m not worried about that. We’re not looking to expand; we had lots of opportunities to expand. We’re really happy at 12.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.