UC Board of Regents votes to allow UCLA’s move to Big Ten
Pictured are UCLA football players in a huddle during a game at the Rose Bowl. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)
Nearly six months later, and the Bruins are officially Big Ten bound.
In a special meeting held in Westwood on Wednesday, the University of California Board of Regents decided not to block UCLA’s move from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, approving the move by an 11-5 vote.
In endorsing UCLA’s decision to switch conferences, the regents’ chair and the University of California Office of the President recommended a series of mitigation measures to be followed by the school in order to account for concerns related to travel and student-athlete wellbeing.
UCLA’s governing body recommended a total of over $6 million to go toward student-athlete nutritional and academic support, as well as mental health services. The school will also be required to conduct an annual survey of student-athletes to ensure the mitigation measures are effective.
Furthermore, UCLA was recommended to pay UC sister school California somewhere in the range of $2 million to $5 million annually – a number that was later increased by the regents to a range of $2 million to $10 million.
The finalized decision comes after the regents postponed action on the matter in a meeting Nov. 17. The regents discussed the move at four meetings prior to Wednesday and had the authority to block UCLA from leaving the conference despite giving their 10 UC campuses decision-making autonomy.
With its final obstacle cleared, UCLA will officially make the move to the Big Ten in 2024 with crosstown rival USC. The two schools announced their intent to leave the Pac-12 in favor of the Big Ten in June, but recent pushback from the regents – with help from Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff and others – has stalled the Bruins’ move.
“We’re excited to join the Big Ten Conference in 2024 and are grateful for the Board of Regents’ thoughtful engagement in this decision,” said UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond in a written statement. “We’ve always been guided by what is best for our 25 (sic) teams and more than 700 student-athletes.”
UCLA’s athletics program currently stands in over $100 million in debt, with the move to the Big Ten set to bring the Bruins over $60 million per year through a new media rights deal signed by the conference in August. The Pac-12 is still negotiating its new media rights deal, but with UCLA out of the fold, it is only expected to net each member school somewhere in the range of $30 million to $38 million, according to The Mercury News.
Despite the additional revenue associated with the move to the Big Ten, it is expected to add more than $10 million annually to UCLA’s budget because of increased travel costs and the regents’ recommendations, in addition to the tax the school now owes Cal.