There are many reasons why UCLA going to the Big Ten will be beneficial for the Bruins. Here are some of the most notable reasons why UCLA fans and alums should be happy long-term with the changes in conferences.
The Big Ten is one of if not the wealthiest conference in all of college sports, and UCLA will be able to receive more money annually than it would if it continued to stay in the Pac-12 conference. The move is expected to generate an additional upwards amount of nearly $100 million in revenue for the school in the near future.
Greater exposure nationally
The Big Ten is a national conference with a large television audience than the Pac-12. UCLA will be able to reach a wider audience and attract more top recruits potentially with their move to the Big Ten conference. Also, with no disrespect to the Pac-12 but Big Ten games are more attended and more viewed on tv and streaming services overall which will give UCLA more exposure to more fans of college athletics nationwide.
Enhanced competition in football and basketball
The Big Ten is home to some of the most well-known college football programs in the country, such as Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State. The Big Ten in football from top to bottom has more depth and is more competitive year in and year out than the Pac-12. UCLA with the expansion of the college football playoffs in 2024, will hopefully be able to earn a spot in the new college football playoff format as well. In basketball, the Pac-12 has proven to be a very solid basketball conference but the Big Ten usually gets more teams in the NCAA tournament and the Bruins will have more opportunities to play programs considered “blue blood” programs on a yearly basis.
More Financial Stability
The Big Ten is a stable conference with a long history of success and more importantly, they have been able to adapt well to the changing financial landscape of college athletics. UCLA will be joining a conference that is well-positioned for the future. The athletic department has gone on record saying they have significant debt and the number being reported over the past three years is $102.8 million. The move to the Big Ten may have saved certain “Olympic” sports teams from being cut from the Bruin athletic department in the upcoming years as well.
What about the concerns and disadvantages of moving to the Big Ten
One concern by fans of the Bruins is that the travel distance between UCLA and the rest of the Big Ten schools will be significantly longer in distance and another concern is that the move to the Big Ten will almost certainly disrupt traditional rivalries between UCLA and other Pac-12 schools like Stanford and Cal. However, even though the distance between UCLA and certain Big Ten schools like Rutgers, Maryland, and even Penn State is considerably long, the Bruins travel a distant distance when they play other Pac-12 schools like Washington and Colorado already. Also in terms of not playing certain schools considered conference rivals, the Bruins keep their biggest rival in USC which is also joining the Big Ten and if recent reports are correct, Washington and Oregon will be joining the Big Ten in the near future as well.
Overall, the decision by UCLA to join the Big Ten will be viewed as a major positive decision that will have long-term benefits. It remains to be seen whether the move will be successful short term as it will be an adjustment, but it is clear that UCLA and its athletic program are confident that it is the right decision for their future.