Newsom Demands Accountability from UCLA Over Move to Big Ten Conference

UCLA Big Ten
Photo via Twitter @UCLAAthletics

Gov. Gavin Newsom struck again Wednesday at UCLA above the the university’s decision to move its athletic program outside Pac-12 Conference and to Big Ten starting in 2024, saying the school must publicly explain its reasoning and how the move will benefit student-athletes.

Newsom has been open about his distaste for the move, telling Fox11 in an interview last week that he was particularly irritated by the lack of notice to his office or even University of California Board of Regents, of which he serves as an ex-officio member. He noted that he learned about the move by reading about it in the media.

“I read about it. Is a good idea; Have we had a chance to discuss the merits (of the decision)?’ Newsom told Channel 11. “I’m not aware of anyone doing that. So it was done individually. It was done without regal oversight or support. It was done without any consideration as far as I know.”

Newsom doubled down on his criticism Wednesday when he attended a closed-door UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco to discuss the issue and possible steps that could be taken to intervene. The governor issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times saying the “first duty of a public university … is to the people — especially the students.”

“UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this agreement will enhance the experience for all of its student-athletes, honor its enduring partnership with UC Berkeley, and preserve the stories, rivalries and traditions that enrich the communities he told us.

The move from UCLA and USC — arguably the top athletic programs in the Pac-12 — in the Big Ten will be a significant financial blow to the rest of the teams in the conference, most notably Berkeley, which will be the only remaining UC school.

UCLA and USC are expected to see a major boost in revenue from media rights deals in the Big Ten, which will become a coast-to-coast conference featuring some of the nation’s top athletic programs. But the rest of the Pac-12 will likely suffer big financial losses thanks to the loss of two of the conference’s top attractions.

In announcing the planned move, UCLA officials noted that the financial boost from the Big Ten will allow the university to maintain all of its athletic programs, some of which are believed to be in financial jeopardy in the absence of a large influx of cash. The university also noted a significant benefit to student-athletes, which will likely allow them to obtain more lucrative “name, image and likeness” deals.

“Additionally, it means enhanced resources for all of our teams, from academic support to mental health and wellness,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond said in a statement announcing the move last month. “And while this move increases travel distances for teams, the resources offered by Big Ten membership may allow for more efficient transportation options. We would also explore planning accommodations with the Big Ten that best support the academic pursuits of our student-athletes.”

USC President Carol L. Folt, in a statement of her own, said: “With the Big Ten, we join a historic conference that shares our commitment to academic excellence and athletic competitiveness, and positions USC and our student-athletes for long-term success and stability among the rapidly evolving sports media and collegiate athletics landscapes. We are delighted to begin this new chapter in 2024.”

City News Service contributed to this article.

Newsom Demands Accountability from UCLA Over Move to Big Ten Conference Source link Newsom Demands Accountability from UCLA Over Move to Big Ten Conference

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