The Big Ten has served as one of the nation’s premier intercollegiate athletic conferences for over 125 years. Originally founded by a group of seven universities led by Purdue president James H. Smart, the group has grown by leaps and bounds since its formation in 1896. The conference that was originally comprised of seven teams grew to an eventual 14, and is now set to expand to 16 with the groundbreaking addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten.
RELATED: Big Ten primetime football finds a home in NBC and Peacock
When will USC, UCLA join the Big Ten?
Crosstown rival programs USC and UCLA both announced in summer 2022 that they will leave the Pac-12 Conference for the Big Ten on August 2, 2024.
The move rocked the college football world, considering the length of time that both schools were members of their previous conference. USC had held Pac-12 membership since 1922, winning a total of 39 conference football titles and nine basketball titles in that span. The UCLA Bruins were a part of the group since 1928, taking home 16 football and 32 basketball conference titles in those years.
UCLA and USC’s transition was announced on the heels of Oklahoma and Texas confirming their departure for the SEC last season, a move that is set to transpire ahead of the 2025 college football season.
Come 2024, the Pac-12 will be comprised of only 10 members, while the Big Ten will stretch from coast to coast.
RELATED: Click here for NBC coverage of college football
What schools are in the Big Ten Conference?
- University of Michigan
- Ohio State University
- Penn State University
- University Maryland
- Michigan State University
- Indiana University
- Rutgers University
- Purdue University
- University of Illinois
- University of Iowa
- University of Minnesota
- University of Wisconsin
- University of Nebraska
- Northwestern University
- USC (will join in 2024)
- UCLA (will join in 2024)
Why is it called the Big Ten?
Despite its current 14 members, the conference retains its title of “Big Ten” to this day. The name originated after Michigan rejoined in 1917, bringing the membership from nine to 10 teams. Media members were the first to dub the group the “Big Ten”, which was eventually confirmed as the conference’s official name in 1987.
RELATED: Purdue, Penn State to battle for Big Ten basketball title
How can I watch Big Ten football, basketball and more?
While Big Ten football coverage for the 2023 season will be split among NBC, Fox and CBS, NBC and Peacock will be the home of the conference’s biggest game every week with Big Ten Saturday Night. NBC Sports’ new agreement with the Big Ten will also feature coverage of several men’s and women’s basketball games, Olympic sports, golf and more.
It became official in August of 2022 that NBC will air Big Ten Saturday Night on NBC and Peacock, with a primetime football game each fall weekend.