California Governor Gavin Newsom asks UCLA to explain why leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten is beneficial
Following UCLA’s departure to the Big Ten Conference alongside USC, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he is demanding an explanation, on behalf of the public, of how the move will be beneficial not only for the student-athletes, but also for the history of their partnership with UC Berkeley.
“The first duty of every public university is to the people — especially the students,” Newsom said in a statement to the LA Times at Wednesday’s meeting of the UC board of trustees in San Francisco. “UCLA must make it clear to the public how this agreement will enhance the experience of all of its student-athletes, honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and preserve the stories, rivalries and traditions that enrich our communities.”
UCLA and USC’s announcement last month that they would move to the Big Ten in 2024 came as a shock to the college football world as it strengthened a conference and left the Pac-12 and its members in a vulnerable position. The Pac-12 has since announced that it is ready to expand and will begin negotiations for a new media rights agreement. While USC is a private institution, UCLA’s status as a public school has raised eyebrows regarding moving as a school under the University of California system.
“I read about it. Is it a good idea ? Have we had a chance to discuss the merits (of the decision)? Newsom told Fox 11 Los Angeles last week. “I’m not aware of anyone doing it. So it was done in isolation. It was done without regent supervision or support. It was done without any consideration that I know of.”
The University of California said athletics-related decisions are carried out at the campus level.
“UCLA management briefed [University of California] President [Dr. Michael] Drake that talks between UCLA and the Big Ten were taking place but that he was not at all involved in those talks or in any negotiations,” a spokesperson for the University of California president’s office told ESPN. in an email. “…decisions related to athletics are formulated and executed at the campus level. There is no requirement for a decision from the University of California Board of Trustees or the Office of the President.”
The financial benefits that come with a move to the Big Ten are obvious – chief among them is what is expected to be a sky-high television rights deal, which would help UCLA overcome what has been reported as more debt. $100 over three years. million. It would also allow UCLA to retain Olympic sports.
“I inherited a deficit with UCLA athletics,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond told ESPN after the move to the Pac-12. “So when you have a significant financial challenge, it’s hard to just maintain, let alone invest. This decision not only preserves the programs we have now, but also allows us to invest in them at levels that can drive to more competitive success.”
In statements following the announcement of the move, Jarmond and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block also cited more exposure and therefore, more name, image and likeness opportunities for athletes. from UCLA, as one of the various reasons the program moved to the Big Ten.
Yet despite UCLA’s ability to make that decision on its own, Newsom seems to believe the ripple effect could be just as damaging to UC Berkeley, which will inevitably receive less money as the Pac-12 media deal will decrease in value because it will benefit UCLA.
According to the Times, one idea that has been floated includes the Regents imposing an exit fee that UCLA would have to pay UC Berkeley or, in another case, have UCLA share in the Big Ten revenue windfall. TV with Berkeley.