UCLA Legend Bill Walton Hopes School's Move to Big Ten from Pac-12 Is 'Rescinded'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IINovember 1, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 10: Bill Walton arrives on the red carpet during the 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Symphony Hall on September 10, 2022 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Basketball Hall of Famer, UCLA legend and ESPN color commentator Bill Walton hopes his alma mater's impending move from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten in 2024 will be "rescinded."

Longtime Oregon sports columnist and commentator John Canzano reached out to Walton on the matter, and he responded four months later with a written statement expressing his strong feelings.

Of note, Walton said that the move will have a negative impact on the physical and mental health of UCLA student-athletes, citing the "exponential increase" in travel to face Big Ten teams.

USC will join UCLA in the Big Ten, making Nebraska their closest conference rival otherwise at roughly 1,500 miles away.

The Big Ten conference stretches as far west as Nebraska and as far east as Rutgers in New Jersey.

Walton also noted the negative impact on travel for family, friends, fans and alumni.

In addition, the 69-year-old said that the move would run counter to UCLA and the UC system's "professed environmental sustainability goals" and that it would also have a negative impact on a fellow UC school and Pac-12 team in Berkeley.

He also said that "increased costs of joining the Big Ten" would "negate the projected increased revenue assumptions of this proposed move."

Walton also cited the rest of the teams and student-athletes (outside football), wondering how many of them were "represented and willing participants in this proposed deal."

"This proposed move to the Big Ten, is all about football, and money," Walton wrote.

"What about all the other 24 sports and 600-plus student-athletes at UCLA, who are responsible for 99-plus percent of UCLA's national championships?"

The California native starred at UCLA from 1971-74, winning three straight National Player of the Year awards and two national titles under legendary head coach John Wooden. The 1971-72 and 1972-73 teams both went 30-0.