Dear Trojan Community,
I am writing with exciting news about the future for our student-athletes and university community. We are announcing today that USC will join the Big Ten Conference, with plans to begin membership in August 2024. This decision was made after serious deliberation and analysis, and with great appreciation and respect for our Pac-12 colleagues with whom we have enjoyed a wonderful history and relationship.
We have worked hard over the past three years to ground university decisions in what is best for our students. One of our priorities was to build a student-centric athletics program deeply committed to ensuring that all our student-athletes can compete at the highest level athletically and achieve at the highest level academically. We have made that a reality under our terrific athletic director, Mike Bohn, along with his leadership team, coaches, staff and, of course, our student-athletes.
Reflecting that commitment, we also announced today that all USC student-athletes — regardless of scholarship status — will have the opportunity to receive direct financial support in the form of Alston academic achievement awards beginning in the upcoming academic year.
Our move to the Big Ten positions USC for long-term success and stability amidst the rapidly changing sports media and collegiate athletic landscapes. Equally important, we are joining a conference that shares our values of academic excellence, athletic competitiveness and diversity and inclusion across all sports. The enhanced resources from this move will enable additional support for our student-athletes as well as benefit initiatives surrounding academics, accessibility and affordability.
In analyzing a move to the Big Ten, we thoughtfully considered the prospect of additional travel for our student-athletes. We are committed to devoting the necessary resources to ensure our student-athletes can continue to thrive in their coursework with minimal travel disruption. We know the Big Ten shares our commitment to prioritizing student-athletes’ well-being and academic demands, and we are fortunate we can spend the next two years working with the conference on travel and scheduling plans.
We are especially pleased that our crosstown rival, UCLA, will join us in the Big Ten in 2024. While we are fierce competitors on the field, we have a rich tradition of collaboration that we are excited to continue. As we begin to plan for our move, please know we will do everything we can to preserve the wonderful traditions and rivalries we have built in the Pac-12 that our students, alumni and fans have enjoyed for decades.
Please see statements on our move to the Big Ten from Mike Bohn and from Suzanne Nora Johnson, Chair of the USC Board of Trustees.
While today’s decision is the culmination of extraordinary efforts by so many, it is only the beginning of our journey to the Big Ten. Though we may not have every question answered today, we will by August 2024. In the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to all our constituencies to discuss our announcement in more detail and to offer opportunities to ask questions surrounding our future in the Big Ten.
I want to thank our entire Trojan Family — generations of loyal Trojans who have supported and loved USC for more than 100 years. We could not do what we do every day without you, and we hope you are as excited as we are about what’s to come.
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy and safe rest of the summer.
Carol L. Folt