Two weeks ago, many of college sports' most powerful people gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas for the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, countless athletic directors and other power brokers from around the country participated in panels, networked and mingled.

Just before the featured session on June 28, NACDA honored its athletic directors of the year, including Wake Forest's John Currie, NC State's Boo Corrigan, Arkansas' Hunter Yurachek and USC's Mike Bohn. All four took the stage before a packed ballroom of more than 1,000.

In a video honoring the winners, Bohn said, "Every day, I am more and more inspired by the collaboration of my peers across the entire intercollegiate athletics enterprise to build for a bright future. This is also a great opportunity to reflect on why we all do what we do. It's an incredible privilege to work each day to make our program the best it can be for our student-athletes, supporters and the broader university community."

Unbeknownst to nearly everyone in attendance, Bohn and others had been working quietly for months on a stunning move that would throw the future of the college sports landscape into flux. USC, which joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1922 and had been in the league that would become the Pac-12 ever since, was set to uproot and join the Big Ten. The Trojans would leave with crosstown rival UCLA, a Pac-12 member since 1928.

Around the same time as the NACDA awards, Big Ten athletic directors held a call to discuss the possibility of USC and UCLA joining the league. And then after a unanimous vote by Big Ten presidents and chancellors last Thursday, the league announced USC and UCLA will join on Aug. 2, 2024. For the second straight summer, college athletics was rocked by realignment, after Texas and Oklahoma announced last year they would be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

"Another stunner," one Power 5 athletic director said the day moves were announced.

The USC-UCLA-Big Ten courtship accelerated so quickly that many across the country -- especially inside the Pac-12 -- were caught completely off guard. Some ADs learned about the moves on their flights home from NACDA. One described a "Holy s---, shock and awe" moment when he got word via text message.

Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, many college athletics power brokers were on vacation, including Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, who found out while in Montana.

On the heels of the SEC power move the year before, and with the Big Ten on the cusp of a multibillion-dollar TV deal, it served as the final, clear warning to everyone in college football that there were two powers in town.