Gavin Newsom raided, UC regents were convened, and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten remained entirely within the political realm. But on an eventful Wednesday in San Francisco, nothing suggested the Bruins won’t jump to conventions in the summer of 2024.
The controversial move, which became official on June 30, was set for discussion in a closed session of the University of California Board of Regents on Thursday.
Instead, it was changed to Wednesday’s agenda, presumably to fit Newsom’s schedule. And he reportedly made a rare, but nonetheless appropriate, appearance. As governor, he is a regent ex officio (non-voting).
According to a UC spokesperson, the issue was listed as a discussion and did not contain an action item, “thus no vote can be initiated”.
But that didn’t stop Newsom from bluffing about the process and implications of the UCLA move.
“The first duty of every public university is to the people—especially the students,” Newsom said in a statement first published by the LA Times.
“UCLA must clearly state to the public how this deal will improve the experience of all its student-athletes, honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and recognize the history, rivalries and traditions that have enriched our communities. will preserve.”
Without UCLA and USC incorporating the Pac-12 into the Los Angeles media market at large, the convention is fighting for survival. In the best case scenario, it will remain intact but cause hundreds of millions of dollars in media rights losses annually.
This could create a treacherous situation for Cal, which supports 28 Olympic Games and depends on $25 million annually from the central campus for athletic operations.
The move is also expected to put a heavy burden on UCLA athletes as the demand for travel comes with membership in a conference based in the Eastern and Central time zones.
Michael Drake, president of the University of California system, was aware of UCLA’s move before it became official on June 30, but had no authority to stop it, according to a UC spokesman, who issued the following statement to the hotline earlier this month. did. ,
“UCLA leadership informed President Drake that discussions were taking place between UCLA and the Big Ten but he was not involved in those discussions or any of the talks. UCLA is in the best position to answer your questions as to athletics-related Decisions are prepared and executed at the campus level. There is no need to make decisions from the University of California Board of Regents or the Office of the President.”
(Drake is a former president of Ohio State, a prominent member of the Big Ten, and also serves as chancellor of UC Irvine.)
It’s not clear what, if any, steps Newsom, UC Regents or the state can take to prevent the Bruins from departing for the Big Ten.
However, the UC system receives billions in state funding each year.
Several sources have suggested that UCLA may be asked to subsidize Cal’s athletic department, with a portion of the revenue going to the Big Ten.
Had the Bruins remained in the Pac-12, they would likely have received about $40 million annually from the convention in media rights.
In the Big Ten, this figure is expected to double immediately and reach $100 million annually by the end of the decade.
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