Despite the ever-changing landscape that’s now become commonplace in NCAA football, UCLA and USC sent shockwaves throughout the sport this past July by announcing they would leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten conference as vested members in 2024.
Although several sports are being impacted, the focus has gone to implications with the college football perspective. The decision has essentially been boiled down to UCLA and USC being in position to receive a significant increase in revenue as Big Ten members due to a more lucrative television rights agreement.
The sudden news hasn’t set well with Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, and the conference is believed to be exploring options from preventing UCLA from accompanying USC. The decision also came as a surprise to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
“I was taken aback,” Roberts said of his alma mater making plans to leave the Pac-12. “I got good ties over there. I’m sure they’ve got their reasons, so I’m going to be political.
“But I’m pretty surprised by that. I love the Pac-12. So I don’t know how it’s going to work logistically, but I guess the people in the trenches have a better idea. But yeah, I was taken aback.”
Last year, Roberts expressed his support for the Bruins men’s basketball team reaching the Final Four, and Dodger Stadium put up graphics on video boards as a show of solidarity.
Although Roberts has a tepid view of UCLA changing conferences, noted Ohio State fan Caleb Ferguson is looking forward to the Big Ten expanding its reach.
“I think it’s cool. We’re going to play some teams out here and see how Ohio State fans really travel,” Ferguson told DodgerBlue.com.
“There’s kind of an ongoing joke between me and a couple of the trainers that are from the area, that UCLA is not going to stand a chance in the Big Ten, but we’ll compete. I think it’s going to be cool.
“I USC is going to be good in a couple years with Lincoln Riley being able to get some recruits in there. So to hire Lincoln Riley and then leave the conference, I feel like it’s a conference they probably could’ve ran with. I’m excited to see it happen though.”
Ferguson lives 20 minutes from Ohio Stadium and is an ardent Buckeyes fan, but he was waiting to engage on friendly banter with teammates in the clubhouse who have Pac-12 ties.
“I want to see where we’re at before I start running my mouth,” Ferguson said. “But I think Ohio State is going to run the conference.”
Justin Turner caught first pitch from USC football coach Lincoln Riley
Justin Turner, a known Trojans fan, explained on a recent “Holding Kourt” podcast episode he believed the Trojans would benefit significantly from switching to the Big Ten conference.
Turner previously told DodgerBlue.com he was optimistic what hiring Riley would mean for the university, and in May he caught the first pitch from the new USC football coach.
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