(Editor’s note: Penn State University press release)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa — The Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously (Thursday) to admit the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California to the Big Ten Conference effective August 2, 2024. Competition will begin for all conference sports in the 2024-25 academic year.

After receiving written applications from the two universities, Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren alongside conference athletics directors and the Council of Presidents and Chancellors evaluated the applications based on a dynamic model weighting four primary principles with supporting criteria. The principles include academics and culture; student-athlete welfare, competition, and logistics; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports; and financial sustainability. The model allows the conference to analyze criteria in a strategic and effective manner.

Penn State Administrators and Select Coaches Comment on the Addition of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten Conference:

Neeli Bendapudi, Penn State President

This is a thrilling evening for the Big Ten Conference. We welcome USC and UCLA with open arms as like-minded institutions that are as committed to high GPAs and graduation rates as they are to on-field excellence. It was an easy decision that will build upon our conference’s rich heritage. 

Dr. Patrick Kraft, Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics

Penn State University is a proud member of the Big Ten Conference, and we welcome the addition of two world-class universities to our family. USC and UCLA are both synonymous with academic and athletics success and will be tremendous additions to our conference.

James Franklin, Penn State Football Head Coach

This is another big step in the ever-changing college football landscape and we embrace the change. USC and UCLA are two institutions with a long-standing tradition of academic and athletic success. They will only strengthen our already very strong Big Ten Conference.

Rob Cooper, Penn State Baseball Head Coach

The Big Ten has always been committed to competing for national championships, while achieving academic excellence in the classroom. The addition of USC and UCLA further illustrates this commitment. This is an exciting day for the Big Ten.

Clarisa Crowell, Penn State Softball Head Coach

This is an exciting day for Big Ten softball with the addition of UCLA. Its strong softball tradition will continue to elevate the conference. From an overall conference perspective, the academic excellence at both UCLA and USC are in perfect alignment with the Big Ten. We welcome USC and UCLA to the B1G.

Erica Dambach, Penn State Women’s Soccer Head Coach

On behalf of the Penn State Women’s Soccer staff and our student-athletes, we are excited to welcome UCLA and USC to the Big Ten Conference. Both institutions have strong reputations in academics and athletics, and we could not be more thrilled for them to join our league. From a women’s soccer standpoint, these are two of the top programs nationally and will only help to solidify the Big Ten as THE premier conference in the country. 

Carolyn Kieger, Penn State Women’s Basketball Head Coach

The Big Ten is a terrific conference in both academics and athletics. The two new institutions, UCLA and USC, fit that mold exactly. These two schools bring historical success and tradition in women’s basketball. I’m very excited for the future of our league.

Katie Schumacher-Cawley, Penn State Women’s Volleyball Head Coach

This is an exciting time for Big Ten women’s volleyball as we add two outstanding programs in UCLA and USC to what is already the best volleyball conference in the country. Their athletic success combined with their reputations as prestigious academic institutions make both schools a perfect fit for the Big Ten. These additions ensure our conference will be strong for years to come. I am happy to welcome both schools to the Big Ten!

Micah Shrewsberry, Penn State Men’s Basketball Head Coach

The Big Ten has long been home to universities that compete at the highest level in both athletics and academics. UCLA and USC are not only two institutions whose values align with Big Ten, but whose basketball traditions will be great additions to bolster the Big Ten as the nation’s premiere basketball conference.