Gavin Newsom Demands UCLA ‘Explain to the Public’ Why They’re Leaving for the Big 10

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When USC and UCLA announced they were leaving the Pac-12 Conference for the Big 10 in 2024, it took many by surprise.

None more so than California Governor and chair of the University of California’s Board of Regents, Gavin Newsom.

Newsom, whose mismanagement of the state has contributed to the exodus of people fleeing for other parts of the country, recently expressed his disappointment that UCLA followed suit.

He claimed that the moved lacked “decency,” and said that he and the board were “looking into” potential options for action against the university:

Now, Newsom, despite his bewildering political ad claiming to be a defender of freedom and individual liberty, is once again criticizing UCLA’s choice and demanding answers.

In a recent statement, he said that they must “clearly explain to the public” what the benefits will be to the school’s student-athletes and how it will preserve the partnership with UC Berkeley:

“The first duty of every public university is to the people — especially students. UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this deal will improve the experience for all its student-athletes, will honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and will preserve the histories, rivalries, and traditions that enrich our communities.”

For its part, UCLA stands to gain potentially up to double the amount of money per year it receives from the Pac-12, due in large part to the Big 10’s superior media rights deal.

Newsom’s “principal advisor on education” claims that he “understands the benefits” but that “student-athlete mental health” is one of the governor’s concerns:

“Newsom understands the benefits to UCLA and its right to pursue the deal but is troubled by its actions as a public university with an obligation to be transparent and accountable.

It’s about more than sports and more than money. It’s about public trust. It’s about student-athlete mental health. And it’s about honoring the partnerships, histories and traditions that have lasted a century.”

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 04: Obi Eboh #22 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates after a win against the LSU Tigers at Rose Bowl on September 04, 2021 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

What would be more destructive to student-athlete mental health than moving to the Big 10 is the elimination of the sports they came to UCLA to play.

UCLA faces a tremendous budgetary shortfall, and it’s possible that their situation became so untenable that eliminating Olympic sports would have been one of their best options.

Instead, the Big 10 revenue will allow them to fix their financial issues more quickly and easily.

There will undoubtedly be some impact on UC Berkeley, but that seems like a feeble excuse from Newsom meant more to express his displeasure that a decision was made without his input.

It’s interesting too that Newsom is complaining given that the president of the UC system apparently knew about UCLA’s negotiations with the Big 10:

“UC President Michael V. Drake knew about UCLA’s conversations with Big Ten officials. But regents were not consulted then and only a ‘handful’ were notified just before the decision was announced and told to keep it confidential.”

It’s unsurprising that the school wanted to keep this development close to the chest, considering how leaks could have had tremendous consequences.

Newsom simply doesn’t have much ground to stand on, other than his personal frustration that UCLA did not consult him before making the best decision for their athletic department.

While UCLA’s response remains to be seen, they could simply show Newsom a comparison of the money, exposure and competitive advantages they’ll gain from joining the Big 10. Even he should be able to understand that.

Follow Ian Miller on Twitter: @ianmSC

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Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC


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  1. Here’s a form letter for PAC-10 teams leaving:

    Dear Public,

    We here at ____________ University/University of _____________ have concluded that the PAC-10 sucks giant, donkey balls and we are completely irrelevant in college sports while a member. Since we have no ability to recruit even local 4-star talent (who have both parents as alumni) and consistently see them flee to SEC colleges like Mississippi State and Arkansas rather than wither-on-the-vine-and-die for a PAC-10 team, we have decided to join the SEC/B1G (pick one only).

    Please help us try to make ourselves relevant again as we move forward.

    __________________ University/ The University of _________________

  2. UCLA must be “transparent and accountable”, coming from the “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrite. Eats at a swanky restaurant with a group while prohibiting the general public from doing the same. And he travels to a state that he prohibits state workers from traveling to. Also from the man who mandates an experimental treatment to children who have zero risk from Covid…..because, you know, students come first. And speaking of students come first, Newsome also always sides with the teachers’ union and kept schools closed.

    He is such a jackass not to mention a scumbag.

  3. “Man who believes he is accountable to nobody, even when caught refusing to obey his own rules, demands accountability from others. Except when those ‘others’ are fellow Democrats refusing to prosecute criminals, spending tax dollars wildly on frivolous programs, or allowing the homeless to shoot heroin and take shits on city streets.”

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