University of California Leaders Debating Whether to Block UCLA’s Move to the Big 10

While USC has a clear path to complete its exit from the Pac-12, UCLA has faced a significant amount of pushback.

Just recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom threatened action against the school for their decision to head to the Big 10 conference:

Now, the leaders of the University of California education system are, according to a new report, weighing their options as well.

The UC leadership have proposed rules limiting the ability of member institutions from making major athletics decisions unilaterally; exactly the kind of decision UCLA made.

More importantly, the attorney for the UC system leadership said that they might have an opportunity to block the move, based on an interpretation of a system rule.

This is in part due to a 1991 policy that seemingly would have allowed chancellors to negotiate their own contracts. However, even under that policy the regents apparently would have the ability to overrule UCLA’s chancellor and force the athletic department to stay in the Pac-12.

When asked if they would execute that authority and force the Bruins to withdraw their commitment to the Big 10, one of the regents ominously said that “all options are on the table:”

“All options are on the table,” Perez repeated, “up to and including that. … We’re going to look at what all the different options look like and then the board will assert itself in terms of what its desired outcome is.”

Los Angeles, CA – November 20: UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, #1. Scores past USC linebacker Ralen Goforth in the second quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

According to the story, the regents could be swayed by what will be a significant financial impact to the Pac-12 from USC and UCLA’s departures.

USC alone would cost the conference $9.8 million per school in lost media rights revenue, with UCLA coming in at roughly 1/3 of that amount. That also does not include potential lost ticket or apparel sales.

It’s obvious that the Pac-12 Conference will suffer from UCLA leaving, but whether or not the regents will block the move based on its impact to Cal remains to be seen. It doesn’t seem fair to the Bruins to punish them for being a more desirable expansion target than the Bears, and the relationship between the school and the Pac-12 is likely irreparably broken.

With the Big 10’s massive new media rights deal, UCLA stands to much more profitable by jumping ship. But that financial windfall is now seemingly up in the air.

The fact that the regents do apparently have the power to block the transition means that until there’s an official statement confirming that they’ve signed off on the deal, one of the biggest changes to the college football landscape is still up in the air.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, ice cream expert and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, eating as much pizza as humanly possible, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter.

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