LOS ANGELES (AP)UCLA cleared a major hurdle toward joining the Big Ten Conference in 2024, getting approval for the move from the University of California Board of Regents on Wednesday.
The regents voted 11-5 to affirm the Bruins’ move during a special meeting on the university’s Westwood campus. A simple majority was needed to pass.
The regents imposed conditions to mitigate the impact of the move on athletes, including UCLA investing an additional $12 million in nutritional support, mental health services, academic support while traveling and charter flights to reduce travel time.
UCLA will also have to pay the University of California at Berkeley between $2 million and $10 million because of how the move will affect the Cal athletic program. The regents will determine the precise total once the upcoming Pac-12 Conference media rights deals are completed.
The decision came nearly five months after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized UCLA’s move because chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Martin Jarmond did not give advance notice to the regents.
UCLA and the University of Southern California announced on June 30 that they were leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten. USC is private and not part of the UC system.
In 1991, campus chancellors were delegated authority by the UC Office of the President to execute their own contracts, including intercollegiate athletic agreements. But the regents heard during an August meeting that they retain the authority to review decisions impacting the UC system, meaning they could affirm, overturn or abstain from following up on UCLA’s decision.
”The Regents provided the oversight the public deserves – ensuring that decisions about athletic conferences benefit, first and foremost, the student-athletes and campus communities impacted by those decisions,” said Erin Mellon, a spokeswoman for the governor. ”By requiring UCLA to nearly double its investments in student supports, all student-athletes at both UCLA and Berkeley will have greater access to better nutrition, mental health supports, tutoring and support for travel.”
Associated Press writer Adam Beam in Sacramento contributed to this report.
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