The great lengths athletes in some college sports go to “juggle athletics and academics” will “likely become a lot more common for all athletes” at USC and UCLA once the schools join the Big Ten in 2024, according to Laine Higgins of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. USC and UCLA currently “do not travel further than about 1,100 miles and one time zone to play league opponents.” However, when they join the Big Ten, the closest school, Nebraska, is “more than 1,500 miles and two time zones away.” The farthest, Rutgers and Maryland, are “three time zones ahead and about 2,700 miles east.” Baseball, basketball, and volleyball’s regular season usually include a “home and away game against every other conference member.” UCLA Senior Associate AD Christina Rivera said, “We have the resources to take an individualized approach. The pandemic has shown us that we can be flexible, we can be nimble, we can be creative.” Higgins writes that once the move to the Big Ten is complete, sports like golf and cross-country that “follow a regional scheduling format might provide a blueprint for other sports facing frequent far-flung head-to-head competitions.” Neutral site tournaments or double headers “might become more common, too.” Still, “no amount of creativity” can “change the geographic reality that Los Angeles is more than 2,000 miles from the Big Ten headquarters in Chicago.” Former USC volleyball player Raegan LeGrand said, “I just hope a lot of these kids and parents understand what they’re getting into.”

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