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The University of California’s board of regents has asked for the system’s central office to review UCLA’s decision to move its athletic programs from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The ask was made one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom said UCLA must explain the move, demanding that the campus detail how leaving for the Big Ten will benefit its athletes and honor its partnership with UC Berkeley.

The plan calls for UC President Michael Drake’s office to conduct the review and present a report to the regents by Aug. 17. The report will assess the impact UCLA’s move will have on the system’s culture, operations and finances and an analysis on how the move will impact UCLA’s student-athletes.

According to the Times, the report will also include a review of the board’s policy allowing each campus to control its athletics programs.

The regents request was not discussed during the public portion of its meetings on Wednesday and Thursday. Regents officials could not be reached to confirm the action.

Newsom issued a statement after attending for two hours the regents’ closed door meeting in San Francisco.With UCLA planning to move its athletic programs from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten conference, Newsom said the campus must explain how the move will benefit its students and the University of California, Berkeley, a member of the Pac-12 conference.

“The first duty of every public university is to the people — especially students,” Newsom said in a statement. “UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this deal will improve the experience for all its student-athletes, will honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and will preserve the histories, rivalries, and traditions that enrich our communities.”

As governor, Newsom is an ex-officio member of the board, which includes six other ex-officio members and 14 appointed members, who were each selected either by previous governors or by Newsom.

UCLA and the University of Southern California announced on June 30 that they plan to move their athletics programs from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten — moves that would be a seismic shift in the college athletics landscape. The two Los Angeles-based universities plan to join the conference in 2024.

Newsom initially voiced displeasure with the move last week, telling Fox’s Los Angeles affiliate that UC’s board of regents had not been consulted over UCLA’s decision to leave the Pac-12. Richard Leib, chair of the regents, also told the Los Angeles Times that the board was not consulted and that only a few members were notified just before the decision was announced.

It’s not clear what specifically Newsom and the board discussed during Wednesday’s two-hour closed session. 

A UC spokesman declined to comment and referred EdSource to UCLA’s media relations staff. A UCLA spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The move could have negative implications for Berkeley, which as a member of the Pac-12 could suffer multimillion-dollar losses, the Los Angeles Times reported. Without UCLA and USC, the conference and its members are likely to receive much less television revenue.

In its statement announcing its move to the Big Ten, UCLA said it would “make efforts to preserve our traditional regional rivalries,” though it did not specifically mention Berkeley. 

Ben Chida, an adviser to Newsom on education issues, told the Times that Newsom’s concerns over UCLA’s decision to join the Big Ten is “about more than sports and more than money.”

“It’s about public trust. It’s about student-athlete mental health. And it’s about honoring the partnerships, histories and traditions that have lasted a century,” added Chida, who did not immediately return a request for comment from EdSource on Wednesday.

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  1. Dennis 2 days ago2 days ago

    UCLA has serious cash flow problems with news articles putting the current cumulative red ink at $102 million (+/-) and counting. Google UCLA Athletic Department and note the numerous athletic facilities from the 2012 remodel of Pauley Pavilion ($135 Million--basketball/volleyball), Drake Stadium (track & field, soccer), Wooden Center (basketball/volleyball), IM Field (soccer), North Pool (swimming, water polo), Student Activities Center (intramurals), Sycamore Tennis Courts, plus other smaller athletic facilities, including even a beach volleyball … Read More

    UCLA has serious cash flow problems with news articles putting the current cumulative red ink at $102 million (+/-) and counting. Google UCLA Athletic Department and note the numerous athletic facilities from the 2012 remodel of Pauley Pavilion ($135 Million–basketball/volleyball), Drake Stadium (track & field, soccer), Wooden Center (basketball/volleyball), IM Field (soccer), North Pool (swimming, water polo), Student Activities Center (intramurals), Sycamore Tennis Courts, plus other smaller athletic facilities, including even a beach volleyball sandpit!

    UCLA’s comprehensive athletic facilities obviously takes serious revenue streams to operate, especially the football program. Coach Chip Kelly’s new contract starts at $4.7 million. Mick Cronin’s salary was $4.2 million last year. Plus all other coaching staffs’ salaries in those two sports run into the multi-millions. Is such a costly and extensive athletic program at UCLA necessary? It their room to sharpen pencils and do significant trimming of costs, especially salaries and related benefits? In short, has debt-laden UCLA Athletic Department become the financial tail that wags the dog that precipitated that rushed decision to join the Big 10?

  2. P Otis 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    It’s good that someone has actual people in mind rather than just dollars. None of the various changes around that cash cow football seem to have fans in consideration. Viewers are what is wanted. Maybe it will lead to the general decline of sports as we find something better to do than watch a media created match up….USC v Rutgers! Can hardly wait for that!

  3. Jim 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    Why not stop being a farm team for pro sports? Perhaps just focus on education? Would that be so terrible?

  4. tim taylor 3 weeks ago3 weeks ago

    Great article Michael…..shocking that a public funded university can unilaterally pull out of a league with no regard for the bigger picture

    Replies

    • Michael 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

      What bigger picture? UCLA’s athletic department can do whatever it wants since the state doesn’t fund them anything. More importantly, the bigger picture is that UCLA’s move to the Big Ten increases the UC system’s TV revenue from $85 million between UCLA and Berkeley in the Pac-12 up to $130 million annually. That’s a net increase in revenue by more than 50%. Meanwhile, Cal’s projected TV revenue declines $12 million annually from about $42 million … Read More

      What bigger picture? UCLA’s athletic department can do whatever it wants since the state doesn’t fund them anything. More importantly, the bigger picture is that UCLA’s move to the Big Ten increases the UC system’s TV revenue from $85 million between UCLA and Berkeley in the Pac-12 up to $130 million annually. That’s a net increase in revenue by more than 50%.

      Meanwhile, Cal’s projected TV revenue declines $12 million annually from about $42 million to $30 million but since UCLA is only one of the parties taking part in the move if we assume they bring 50% of the loss in value (in actuality USC’s the more valuable loss), UCLA can only be said to have contributed $6 million worth of reduced revenue for Cal. That’s just a 14% decline in revenue.

      Thus, UCLA’s departure to the Big Ten brings far too much value to the UC system as a whole whole causing negligible losses to Cal. The Regents would have to allow them to go to the Big Ten otherwise they would face lawsuits for breaching their fiduciary duties.

  5. Oscar 3 weeks ago3 weeks ago

    Where to begin? If it were really about mental health they'd shut down all the football programs, period. The links between football and irreversible brain injuries have long been established. You'd think at least one researcher at one of the many UC's would point this out. This just smacks of hypocrisy and virtue signaling on behalf of Newsom, so nothing new there. Secondly, what do they mean preserve the relationship with Berkeley? Is UCLA leaving … Read More

    Where to begin? If it were really about mental health they’d shut down all the football programs, period. The links between football and irreversible brain injuries have long been established. You’d think at least one researcher at one of the many UC’s would point this out. This just smacks of hypocrisy and virtue signaling on behalf of Newsom, so nothing new there.

    Secondly, what do they mean preserve the relationship with Berkeley? Is UCLA leaving the UC system? It’s not. So again why the alarmist bloviating? If the issue is indeed “public trust,” why isn’t UCLA allowed to be steward of its stakeholders’ best interests? What’s next micromanaging endowments so all the universities lose equally lest anyone’s feelings get hurt? Wish there was actual reporting going on with relevant questions and points being brought up instead of the passive stenography that gets peddled as “news” across the media landscape.

  6. B10 Fan 3 weeks ago3 weeks ago

    As a lifelong Big 10 fan, trust me: We don’t want these CA teams in the B10 any more than Newsom! Stay in your lane.

    Replies

    • Michael 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

      Obviously, your presidents and ADs really wanted them bad. Apparently, the presidents started and finished their debate over adding them in a matter of two days. One source indicated it’s the most expedited realignment process in history. The Big Ten is even admitting them as full share members immediately whereas the other recent additions like Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland, and Penn State had to wait a decade, with partial shares amounting to hundreds of millions of … Read More

      Obviously, your presidents and ADs really wanted them bad. Apparently, the presidents started and finished their debate over adding them in a matter of two days. One source indicated it’s the most expedited realignment process in history. The Big Ten is even admitting them as full share members immediately whereas the other recent additions like Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland, and Penn State had to wait a decade, with partial shares amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of lost revenue. Thus, it’s pretty clear your league would have done anything for these schools. lol