UPDATE: Both USC and UCLA have since confirmed that they will be moving to the BIG 10 in 2024. The PAC-12 will now begin searching for replacements while uncertainty regarding Oregon's future in the conference hangs in the balance.
Earlier today, Jon Wilner of the PAC-12 Hotline and Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic both reported that UCLA and USC are currently in conversations to join the BIG 10. Wilner details that the proposition/move has not yet been finalized "at the highest levels of power".
Recent reports of the two Los Angeles-based schools seeking movement to the BIG 10 comes as a surprise development, at least geographically. Both the Trojans and the Bruins are west coast schools and would essentially be joining a conference that features primarily midwest programs.
Revenue stemming from football, and potentially basketball, likely acts as the key driver behind this proposed move for both USC and UCLA. According to The Athletic, "The Big Ten is currently in negotiations over its next media rights deal. Its existing deals with ESPN and Fox run through the next academic year, 2022-23."
From a track and field perspective, seeing USC and UCLA move to the BIG 10 would likely create some level of chaos amongst the current member institutions of the conference. USC is a historical track and field powerhouse that has often competed for (and won) multiple national titles.
The Trojans would become instant favorites to win BIG 10 titles on the track whenever their proposed move is finalized.
UCLA, meanwhile, has had a few promising moments as a team within the PAC-12, occasionally battling for top-three finishes at conference championships. However, outside of those moments, the Bruins have largely settled towards the middle portion of the PAC-12.
Neither UCLA nor USC have garnered much influence within the collegiate distance running scene as of late. However, the UCLA men did have a very promising top-heavy cross country team in 2019 which proved to be one of the better distance groups in the nation.
While not yet finalized, departures from UCLA and USC would create two openings within the PAC-12 that the conference would likely want to fill.
The only question, however, is which teams would be their replacements?