UC regents delay final decision on UCLA’s Big Ten move until December

Despite UCLA’s push for clarity, the University of California Board of Regents on Thursday declined to clarify issues related to the Bruins’ move to the Big Ten and instead plans to finalize a decision at a special meeting on Dec. 14.

UCLA officials have been pushing for a decision with Football Signing Day next month and looming logistical issues they must resolve long before the Bruins potentially play their first games as members of the Big Ten in 2024.

At a board meeting Thursday in San Francisco, chancellors from UCLA and UC Berkeley expressed differing views on whether the move would hurt or help athletes. Berkeley, the only UC school left after UCLA departed in the Pac-12 conference, will lose millions in media revenue under a new television deal two years from now, which is expected to be far off excluding USC and UCLA and huge Southern California will be less lucrative market.

Several rulers — including Gov. Gavin Newsom, an ex-officio board member — have expressed concern about the potentially negative impact on Berkeley and UC athletes.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ told Regents that she regrets changes during this “extraordinarily volatile time” in collegiate athletics, including a greater emphasis on “pay-to-play” and greater professionalization of revenue-generating sports such as football and basketball. She said she had come to believe it was in the better interests of all students, particularly women athletes, to have more conferences rather than a consolidation of a few less powerful conferences.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the decision to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten was complex and painful, but ultimately campus officials believed athletes would benefit by having opportunities to generate more revenue to gain a broader national presence and provide greater sporting competition.

“The student-athletes were excited about the opportunity to compete with the best teams,” he said. “In the end, we decided this was the best move for UCLA.”

Block told Regents that the school plans to spend at least $10 million more to offer its athletes improved nutrition, travel, academic support and mental health services to offset the increased travel associated with attending a Coastal conference to balance the coast.

The biggest expenses related to the realignment of the conference would be increased travel expenses. UCLA estimated that additional charter flights would cost an additional $4.62 million to $5.79 million, although planning accommodations such as games at neutral locations and joint flights for UCLA and USC teams “significantly reduces that number.” “ could become.

UCLA has also committed $2.927 million to improve nutritional support, provide weekday breakfast and lunch for all teams, while expanding snacking throughout the day and hiring two nutritionists and 10 part-time students to staff a snack station .

In addition, the school would pay $1.036 million to double the number of learning specialists from three to six, increase the full-time “academic excellence” staff to 22, and expand its summer bridge program from 30 to 100 students, which is half of all would allow new athletes to enroll in summer school while adapting to their curriculum. UCLA would also provide a $500 stipend to all athletes to purchase Wi-Fi, hotspots, headphones and other accessories related to distance learning.

Finally, UCLA would provide $562,800 for two new licensed therapists to join staff at 3.5 mental health providers who are reducing appointment wait times and providing improved care, while also donating $252,000 towards education, would provide preventive measures and direct psychiatric care to assist with sleep. Eating disorders, substance abuse and other acute illnesses.

UCLA officials say roughly eight-figure expenses for improved student support are more than offset by additional income from joining the Big Ten.

The school is expected to generate between $65 million and $75 million in media rights revenue in its first year of conference membership alone, with additional revenue coming in from college football playoff and NCAA tournament payouts that would likely dwarf what the Bruins did would earn if they stayed with the Pac-12. That should more than double the $34.3 million UCLA earned from its Pac-12 media rights and conference distributions in fiscal 2020, the most recent year for which figures are available before COVID-19 impacted the finances of the Athletic department across the country affected.

The conference change would also prevent UCLA from eliminating Olympic athletic teams, which the school thought possible given its athletic department deficit of $102.8 million. UCLA told Regents that eliminating six teams and removing scholarships from eight other sports could save about $11 million.

According to a joint poll of 111 Bruins athletes conducted by UCLA and the UC Office of the President, 93% said it was important or very important to have UCLA in the same conference as USC, while 24% of Bruins athletes stated keeping UCLA and their sister school California in the same conference had the same meaning.

The poll showed there was no overwhelming opposition to the move, as recently suggested by Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff. When asked if their school would go to the Big Ten, 35% of respondents said it would be a good idea, 20% said they had no opinion, 38% said they needed more information, and 7% said it would a bad idea .

Regents have acknowledged that UCLA was right to use its delegated authority to agree to join the Big Ten. But they said they reserved the right to confirm, overturn or refrain from that decision – which they plan to make next month.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-11-17/ucla-exit-from-pac-12-to-big-ten-debated-by-uc-regents UC regents delay final decision on UCLA’s Big Ten move until December

Alley Einstein

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