UCLA Will Move to Big Ten With Conditions From UC Regents
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- The UC Board of Regents voted to approve UCLA's move to the Big Ten Conference.
- UCLA will need to budget additional support for student-athletes as part of the move.
- UCLA will also need to pay between $2 million and $10 million to UC Berkeley, based on a forthcoming media rights deal.
- UCLA and the University of Southern California (USC) are set to join the Big Ten Conference in 2024.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will officially be heading to the Big Ten Conference in 2024, with a few conditions from the UC Board of Regents.
UCLA will need to increase support for student-athletes and contribute up to $10 million to the University of California, Berkeley, to move from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten. According to the Los Angeles Times, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) asked UCLA to explain how it would "honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley" and support its student-athletes.
How much UCLA will have to pay to UC Berkeley is still up in the air.
According to a release, UC President Michael V. Drake will return to the Board of Regents after finalizing Pac-12 media agreements with a recommendation of between $2 and $10 million.
CBS Sports reported that the UC Board of Regents debated UCLA's departure from the conference, which delayed any Pac-12 media deal.
The release states the board will require UCLA to budget at least $1.5 million for academic support, including funding for "additional learning specialists, the expansion of summer bridge programming for student-athletes, and direct stipends to student-athletes for investment in learning technology." That represents a $460,525 increase over UCLA's original budget estimate, according to the release.
UCLA will also need to budget $1.375 million for student-athlete nutritional support and an additional $35,000 to make the wide-ranging travel more comfortable for students.
"The University of California is deeply grateful for the guidance and input provided by Governor Gavin Newsom, the UC Regents, UC student-athletes, and community members in open board meetings, surveys, and other discussions on this issue," Drake said in the release. "This additional support will help our student athletes thrive in the classroom, in their communities, and on the playing field. Today's action reflects the extensive input of the UC community and the University's deep commitment to supporting our student-athletes as scholars and as competitors, now and in the future."
BestColleges reported earlier this year that UCLA and the University of Southern California (USC) announced their plans to move to the Big Ten, which marked a dramatic shift in college football.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Athletic Director Martin Jarmond said in a June statement that the move would boost student-athletes' chances for name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals, which have skyrocketed since the NCAA's 2021 policy change.
BestColleges reported that since the policy change, a wide array of national brands to local businesses have since made deals with student-athletes.
"[E]ach school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time," Block and Jarmond said in the statement. "For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come."
National College Players Association Executive Director Romogi Huma criticized UCLA's move to the Big Ten. In a previous letter, he urged the UC Board of Regents to block the move over its impact on college athletes' mental health and academic performance, USA Today reported.
"No matter how much money is generated, UCLA cannot spend its way out of increased travel times for its athletes that will directly reduce UCLA athletes' ability to keep up with their academics and complete their degree," wrote Huma, who began his advocacy for college athletes while playing for UCLA football.