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UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond discusses Big Ten move, NIL

UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond looks toward the field at the Rose Bowl. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Joseph Crosby

Oct. 12, 2023 1:40 p.m.

This post was updated Oct 12 at 9:53 p.m.

UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond met with Daily Bruin Sports on Tuesday.

Jarmond was hired in May 2020 and has since spearheaded UCLA’s conference switch to the Big Ten alongside USC and now Oregon and Washington. In addition to the departure from the Pac-12, Jarmond discussed the university’s endeavors into the name, image and likeness field and changes being made to athlete support systems for student-athletes in light of the conference shift.

“We’re in a process where we’re evaluating what other Big Ten schools have,” Jarmond said. “We’re looking at our resources. We’re putting together a strategic plan that hopefully will come out in the next few weeks. … There’s a number of things that we’re looking at: academic support, nutrition, food, mental health resources.”

Jarmond added that with the move still nearly 10 months away, specific plans are not fully developed, but UCLA Athletics is planning to work with the UC Board of Regents as well as conduct evaluations after the move to ensure that resources are adequately distributed.

The UC Regents have a 10-point list that UC system athletics departments must adhere to in regard to the treatment of student-athletes, including academic, career and mental health support systems. Jarmond described a pilot program that began this year to provide student-athletes with lunches as an example of the university’s further investment into nutrition, independent of work with the board that remains ongoing.

While the move to the Big Ten affects most of UCLA’s varsity sports, it will not include men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s water polo or beach volleyball. Both water polo programs and men’s volleyball play in the MPSF, while the Big Ten does not sponsor beach volleyball as does the Pac-12. UCLA’s new conference, however, does sponsor sports such as men’s and women’s lacrosse and field hockey – programs that Jarmond oversaw during his three years as Boston College’s athletic director.

Jarmond said an expansion of UCLA’s sports is not currently a focus ahead of the change in 2024.

“I wouldn’t say any serious conversations, no,” Jarmond said. “We’re always looking at the landscape. You’re looking at the Big Ten to see what sports they sponsor and if it makes sense, and then you’re also looking at California high school and youth sports participation. So, we’re tracking on both of those.”

UCLA’s announcement of joining the Big Ten came exactly one year after the NCAA announced its approval of NIL deals for student-athletes.

Now, Men of Westwood is recognized as the official NIL collective of UCLA Athletics – however, the for-profit organization is still a separate entity from the university. NIL collectives are independent organizations typically driven by alumni and boosters who aim to assist student-athletes in making NIL deals.

“From a learning perspective, we’ve learned a lot more today than we knew a year ago, and so now we’re better able to partner and help our coaches, collectives,” Jarmond said. “We have a collective that’s the official collective of UCLA Athletics – Men of Westwood, for example – and how best we can support their efforts and work with them, because they’re doing great work on behalf of UCLA Athletics.”

Men of Westwood is also developing a branch of the collective called Champion of Westwood, dedicated to supporting women’s programs and other Olympic sports, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Jarmond concluded the meeting by describing the university’s development of its strategic plan for the Big Ten move, which included discussions with over 120 student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff.

“It’s going to be a holistic approach that we’ve been working on, quite frankly, for a while, since June 30, 2022. So hopefully, you’ll be able to see that in a few weeks’ time,” Jarmond said. “Hopefully, we can get it done and completed by the end of October, and that’s going to be exciting because that’s going to chart the course for UCLA Athletics for the next five years and beyond.”

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Joseph Crosby | Sports editor
Crosby is the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a fourth-year statistics student.
Crosby is the 2023-2024 Sports editor on the football, men's basketball and NIL beats. He was previously an assistant Sports editor on the baseball, women's golf, men's water polo and women's water polo beats and a contributor on the baseball and women's golf beats. He is also a fourth-year statistics student.
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