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UCLA Given Conditional Approval to Leave Pac-12, Join Big Ten by UC Board of Regents

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2022

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 8: UCLA logo on the field during the college football game between the Utah Utes and the UCLA Bruins on Saturday, October 8, 2022 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

University of California regents voted Wednesday to allow UCLA to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten, according to Ben Bolch, Thuc Nhi Nguyen and Steve Henson of the Los Angeles Times.

UCLA will join fellow Southern California school USC in the Big Ten, which will expand to 16 teams once the additions take effect in 2024.

The vote ended 11-5 in favor of UCLA's conference change:

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

Final UC Regents vote: 11 to 5.

UCLA's athletic director, Martin Jarmond, released the following statement regarding Wednesday's news:

UCLA Athletics @UCLAAthletics

Statement from Athletic Director, <a href="https://twitter.com/MartinJarmond?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MartinJarmond</a>. โคต๏ธ<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBruins?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBruins</a> <a href="https://t.co/sbL8jwWNs1">pic.twitter.com/sbL8jwWNs1</a>

The move is expected to have major financial benefits for UCLA. Per the L.A. Times report, "In just its first year of Big Ten membership, the school is projected to pocket $65 million to $75 million in media rights revenue, roughly doubling what it would have made by remaining in the Pac-12 Conference."

But it caused controversy and subsequent months of negotiations since UCLA will leave behind its sister school, UC Berkeley.

"Not all money is good money," wrote former UCLA linebacker Ramogi Huma, who serves as the executive director of the National College Players Association, to the regents. "The regents should not let a handful of people sell the soul of the UCLA athletics program for TV dollars that will be spent on luxury boxes in stadiums and lavish salaries for a few."

The regents secured certain guarantees in return for allowing UCLA's departure, however:

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

And they did just that: <a href="https://t.co/8O5Lmsg92m">pic.twitter.com/8O5Lmsg92m</a>

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

They just changed the language to $2 to $10 million for the "Berkeley tax"

The Big Ten has also agreed to assist UCLA with its increased travel costs and considerations by "holding neutral-site jamborees involving Olympic sports from multiple conference schools," per the LA Times.

The UCLA-USC addition was the Big Ten's answer after longtime Big 12 powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas announced they would join the SEC. The conferences continue to jockey for position as the most powerful in the NCAA sporting landscape, namely in the cash cow that is college football.