UC campuses face custodial rollback after UCLA deal to leave Pac-12 irks regents

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

The regents, meeting in San Diego on Thursday, briefly discussed a proposal to prohibit the university president from delegating such authority if a proposed UC campus athletics transaction would cause a “material adverse financial impact” on a sister campus — defined as 10% or more of the operating income of the relevant sports department. The ban on delegating power to campuses would also apply if a proposed deal raised a “major question” about university policy or created a “significant risk of reputational damage” for UC.

Board chairman Richard Leib emphasized that the proposal is aimed at future campus actions. But it was triggered by widespread concern among regents about the financial ramifications UCLA’s decision to abandon the Pac-12 in 2024 could have on UC Berkeley.

The Westwood campus will receive a full share of the new Big Ten media rights package estimated at over $1 billion per season and expected to be several times higher than a Pac-12 deal under negotiation. But UC Berkeley is bracing for a multimillion-dollar loss in media revenue under a new Pac-12 conference TV contract, diminished by the departures of UCLA and USC.

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The board took no action on Thursday and decided to refer the matter to the board committee to work it out at a future meeting. Regents also did not answer the big question: whether they would try to cancel the controversial deal. But Leib previously said he hoped the case could be closed in the coming months.

Governor Gavin Newsom has required UCLA to explain how his Pac-12 exit to the Big Ten will benefit all of his athletes and honor his relationship with UC Berkeley. Several regents have also wondered how the move would affect the health, well-being and academic performance of athletes who spend more time on the road to Big Ten competitions.

Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff expressed similar concerns this week, saying the UC regents should consider using their authority to block the school’s move to the Big Ten due to a variety of factors, including the mental and physical toll on them. the increased travel requirements for students attending a conference from coast to coast.

Kliavkoff also said UCLA would lose money as a member of the Big Ten without offering any particulars to back up his claim.

“We think the extra money they will receive from the Big Ten media rights deal will be more than 100% offset by additional costs,” Kliavkoff told “Canzano and Wilner: The Podcast.” “So you take the money you’ve made and it goes to airline and charter companies and coaches and administrators. It’s not about supporting the student athletes. And of course there’s the negative impact on Cal that I’m sure the regents will take into account when considering this.”

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George Blumenthal, who served as chancellor of UC Santa Cruz for 13 years until 2019, said UCLA clearly had the authority to close the deal under the rules at the time and that regents who delved into athletes’ travel schedules “micromanagement to the extreme.” laymen. Such problems are best left to campuses, he said.

But he said it was a “legitimate matter” for regents to try to limit damage to one UC campus through the actions of another.

“UC is one 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 negatively impact another,” said Blumenthal, who now heads the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley.

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After UCLA’s departure from USC was announced in late June, Bruins sports director Martin Jarmond said the move would help secure the future of an indebted division while avoiding the possibility of scaling Olympic sports teams. . UCLA will receive a full share of the new Big Ten media rights package estimated at over $1 billion per season and expected to be several times more than a Pac-12 deal currently under negotiation after losing two anchors in the coveted market in Los Angeles.

Some of UCLA’s new revenue could be diverted to Cal if UC regents force UCLA to subsidize its sister school’s athletic department as punishment for leaving the Golden Bears in a reduced Pac-12. At last month’s UC regent meeting 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 the conference switch that playing in the Big Ten would bring more than financial benefits, including an expanded recruiting base and a strengthened brand that gives athletes additional name, image and likeness opportunities. offers amid a rapidly changing sports landscape.

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