UC campuses face rollback in authority after UCLA move to Big Ten

The University of California isn’t done addressing the fallout from UCLA’s move to the Big Ten, which sparked a national outcry and angered the powerful UC Board of Regents.

The Regents, meeting Thursday in San Diego, briefly discussed a proposal to prevent the university president from delegating such powers if a UC campus’ proposed athletics transaction would cause a “material adverse financial impact” on a sister campus – defined as 10% or more of the operating income of the sports department concerned. The ban on delegating powers to universities would also apply if a proposed deal would raise a “significant issue” of university policy or create a “significant risk of reputational damage” for UC.

Board Chairman Richard Leib emphasized that the proposal is aimed at future campus campaigns. But it was prompted by widespread concerns among Regents about the financial impact UCLA’s decision to leave Pac-12 in 2024 could have on UC Berkeley.

The Westwood campus will get a full share of the new Big Ten media rights package, which is valued at more than $1 billion per season and is expected to be multiples of a Pac-12 deal currently being negotiated. But UC Berkeley is bracing for a multimillion-dollar media revenue loss under a new television deal with a Pac-12 conference that was reduced by the departure of UCLA and USC.

The board took no action on Thursday and decided to refer the matter to the governance committee for clarification at a future meeting. Nor did the regents answer the big question: whether they would try to annul the controversial deal. But Leib previously said he hoped the matter could be resolved in the next few months.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has required UCLA to explain how its Pac-12 exit for the Big Ten will benefit all of its athletes and honor its relationship with UC Berkeley. Several rulers have also questioned how the move would affect the health, welfare and academic performance of athletes, who spend more time on the road to travel to Big Ten games.

Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff raised similar concerns this week, saying UC Regents should consider using their powers to block the school’s move to the Big Ten due to several factors, including the mental and physical toll of the increased Travel requirements for students playing in a Coast to Coast conference.

Kliavkoff also said UCLA would lose money as a member of the Big Ten, without providing details to back up his claim.

“We believe that the additional money they will receive from the Big Ten’s media rights deal will be more than 100% offset by additional spending,” Kliavkoff told Canzano and Wilner: The Podcast. “So you end up taking the money you made and it goes to airlines and charter companies and coaches and administrators. It’s not about supporting the student athletes. And of course there are the negative effects on Cal, which I’m sure Regents will consider when they think about it.”

George Blumenthal, who served as chancellor of UC Santa Cruz for 13 years until 2019, said UCLA clearly had the authority to complete the deal under rules at the time, and regents dealing with athletes’ travel plans appeared to “micromanage to the to be “outmost”. Such issues are best left to campuses, he said.

But he said it was a “legitimate problem” for regents to try to mitigate the damage done to one UC campus by the actions of another.

“UC is a system, and while we want to give individual campuses as much authority as possible, this is a prime example where a decision by one campus can adversely affect another campus,” said Blumenthal, who now runs the Center for Studies at Higher directs education at UC Berkeley.

After UCLA’s departure alongside USC was announced in late June, Bruins athletic director Martin Jarmond said the move would help secure the future of a department riddled with debt while avoiding the possibility of Olympic cut sports teams. UCLA will get a full share of the new Big Ten media rights package, which is valued at more than $1 billion per season and is expected to be a multiple of a Pac-12 deal currently being negotiated after two anchors in the year were lost coveted market in Los Angeles.

Some of UCLA’s new earnings could be diverted to Cal if UC governors force UCLA to subsidize their sister school’s athletic department as punishment for leaving the Golden Bears in a diminished Pac-12. At the UC Regents meeting last month on the UCLA campus, it was estimated that the departure of the two Los Angeles schools would cost the Pac-12 about $13 million annually in lost media rights revenue.

Jarmond and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said at the time their school announced their conference call that playing in the Big Ten would bring more than just financial benefits, including an expanded recruiting base and a strengthened brand that would provide additional opportunities for athletes Name, image and likeness features rapidly changing sports landscape.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-22/uc-campus-ucla-pac-12-big-ten UC campuses face rollback in authority after UCLA move to Big Ten

Alley Einstein

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