November 25, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Logan Loya (17) and California Golden Bears cornerback Jeremiah Earby (29) go for the football during the third quarter at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Regents conditionally approve UCLA’s Big Ten move

The University of California Board of Regents officially approved UCLA’s proposed move to the Big Ten during a special meeting on UCLA’s campus on Wednesday.

The decision cleared the biggest remaining hurdle for the Bruins to make the move with crosstown rival Southern California, coming five months after the departure was announced.

Per reporting from ESPN, the regents approved UCLA’s switch from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten by a vote of 11-5, a required step in the process for UCLA as a member of the University of California educational system.

The move is conditional on UCLA meeting certain guidelines, including a requirement that the school spend a specified amount of money and take certain mitigation steps to support their athletes through the rigors of increased travel. And as The Athletic and ESPN report, UCLA will also have to pay Cal-Berkeley a sum between $2 and 10 million for leaving the conference without them.

That amount will ultimately be determined by the Pac-12’s next media deal, a deal which will suffer with the conference’s two most valuable brands now leaving for greener pastures.

“We’re excited to join the Big Ten Conference in 2024 and are grateful for the Board of Regents’ thoughtful engagement in this decision,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a release. “We’ve always been guided by what is best for our 25 teams and more than 700 student-athletes, and the Big Ten offers exciting new competitive opportunities on a bigger national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talent.”

The move, expected to provide a financial windfall to debt-plagued UCLA, was called into question shortly after it was announced in August when two regents told the Los Angeles Times that they had the authority to block it from happening.

The regents subsequently met on the matter multiple times. A decision was expected in November but was postponed until today’s special meeting.

With a decision in hand, the Big Ten and UCLA can proceed.

“With the collective goals to prioritize the health and well-being of our student-athletes and forward our academic and athletic mission under the umbrella of higher education, we will continue our methodical integration process of UCLA and USC into the Big Ten Conference,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA;   UCLA Bruins running back Kazmeir Allen (19) is stopped by California Golden Bears safety Elijah Hicks (3) just short of the goal line after a pass reception in the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Report: University of California regents can block UCLA to Big Ten

Following a University of California board of regents meeting Wednesday, two regents told the Los Angeles Times that they believe they have the authority to stop UCLA from leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024.

Whether the regents will utilize that authority is another matter, though.

In June, UCLA, a member of the state university system, and Southern California, a private school, announced plans to leave the Pacific Coast-based Pac-12 and join the Big Ten in a stunning shift of the college football landscape.

It figures to cause serious damage to the Pac-12 and its remaining members, including Cal.

“I’m very concerned about the financial impact to Cal-Berkeley and to make sure whatever new revenue might be achieved envisions a scenario to help offset (Cal’s) need,” regent Tony Thurmond said, according to the San Jose Mercury-News.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom had requested the regents meet to discuss the matter. After both an open session and private talks, the consensus seemed to be that all options were on the table.

“We always have the ability to retain authority, which is what we heard today,” board of regents chair Richard Leib told the Los Angeles Times.

As to whether they would block UCLA’s move, Leib said it is “premature” to say.

“It’s important to understand that when the regents delegated authority to the (UCLA) president, they didn’t give it away or lose it,” Charlie Robinson, an attorney for the UC system, added. “Essentially, what they did was extend it such that authority was with the regents and the president.”

During the open session, one regent reportedly proposed that the board should prepare models for various scenarios for Cal athletics, including a move from Division I to Division III, which would be unprecedented for a high-major institution.

–Field Level Media