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USC, UCLA headed to Big Ten, leaving Pac-12, Utes behind

Posted at 12:14 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 00:08:27-04

LOS ANGELES — In a move that will no doubt affect the University of Utah and its athletic programs, USC and UCLA are leaving the Pac-12 Conference for the Big Ten.

Watch: FOX 13's Jeff Rhineer looks deeper into how this change will impact Utah athletics.

FOX 13's Jeff Rhineer looks into how Pac-12 conference change will impact The University of Utah

Reporter Jon Wilner tweeted the potential blockbuster move first on Thursday afternoon, with both schools making it official later in the afternoon that they will be joining the Big Ten Conference in 2024.

Removing two of the conference's most prominent and highest profile schools could devastate the Pac-12 during the latest upheaval in the college sports landscape.

Adding USC and UCLA will increase the power of the Big Ten Conference as the SEC is set to add powerhouses Texas and Oklahoma.

The question that remains is - what will happen to the remaining Pac-12 schools and will the conference continue to exist?

The University of Utah, which officially joined the Pac-12 in 2011 and played in its first Rose Bowl as conference champion earlier this year, could find itself playing a game of musical chairs, looking for a new power conference to join.

Taylor Randall, President of the U and Mark Harlan, Director of Athletics, issued a joint statement about the change Thursday night.

This is a significant development that impacts each Pac-12 member institution and alters the landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

At the University of Utah, we are very confident in the strength and trajectory of our institution and our athletics programs, coming off another elite year of academic performance, a Pac-12 championship season in football and our most successful year, collectively, across all of our sports since joining the Conference in 2011.

We have been in frequent communication with one another since this information came to light, and we will continue to stay in close communication with Conference leadership and our fellow Conference members as developments unfold.

The Pac-12 Conference also issued a statement Thursday night, saying they were "extremely surprised and disappointed."

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 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.

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