USC and UCLA will leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten in 2024, the schools announced Thursday — a bombshell that caught the sports world completely off-guard.
Why it matters: The future of college athletics seems clear: Two "super leagues" built from the foundations of the SEC, which will soon add Texas and Oklahoma, and the Big Ten, which now spans coast to coast.
What they're saying: "This move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come," said UCLA chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Martin Jarmond.
By the numbers: The Big Ten and SEC had already separated themselves from the pack financially. Now, armed with the biggest brands in college sports, it won't even be close.
The big picture: Major college sports, especially football, are increasingly about one thing: cashing checks. What was once "amateur athletics" is now a TV show — and one of the few that still drive ratings.
Yes, but: At what cost?
Zoom out: The Big Sixteen (or is it The Bigger Ten?) may seem strange, but it's part of a larger shift. As the NCAA cedes power to the richest leagues, who may eventually breakaway, membership is a golden ticket.
Looking ahead: We'll soon have two 16-team mega-conferences, but why stop there? Some believe the Big Ten and SEC will end up with 20 schools each, forming the "Power 2."