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