UCLA Athletics has always been guided by what is best for our student-athletes. Our responsibility is to them. As you know, collegiate athletics is changing, making us evaluate how to best support our 25 teams and more than 700 student-athletes. We need to be at the forefront of this new era. This is why, after careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation, UCLA will be leaving the Pac-12 and joining the Big Ten Conference at the start of the 2024-25 season.
We have 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 a tremendous respect for their commitment to the student-athlete experience. The Pac-12 has 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 changing times and ensures that we have the resources to remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come.
As the oldest NCAA Division I athletic conference in the United States and with a footprint that will extend from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the Big Ten offers Bruins exciting new competitive opportunities and a broader national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talent. Specifically, this move will enhance Name, Image and Likeness opportunities through greater exposure for our student-athletes and new partnerships with entities across the country.
Entry into the Big Ten would also help ensure that UCLA preserves and maintains all 25 current teams. It also means enhanced resources to help all of our teams remain elite, from academic support to mental health and wellness, nutrition and career development. Although this move increases travel distances for teams, the resources offered by Big Ten membership may allow for more efficient transportation options. We will explore scheduling accommodations with the Big Ten that support our student-athletes’ academic pursuits.
For you, our fans, Big Ten membership equates to better television time slots for our road games, but the same number of home games for our teams. We will make efforts to preserve our traditional regional rivalries. We are also pleased that our crosstown rival USC will be joining the Big Ten in 2024-25.
We recognize these are big changes. We appreciate all of your dedication to the student-athletes’ well-being and success. The best way to respect them is to protect our program from the uncertainty it would face if we did not make this transition. Because of our unique circumstances, we believe this is the right move for us 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 UCLA for the century that has passed and the centuries that lie ahead.