Gavin Newsom wants an explanation.
The California governor, speaking at the UCSF Board of Regents meeting on Wednesday, demanded that UCLA provide a public explanation of how its move to the Big Ten would benefit student-athletes and the school’s partnership with UC Berkeley.
Newsom said, “The number one duty of every public university is to the people—particularly the students,” Via Los Angeles Times. “UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this deal will improve the experience for all of its student-athletes, honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and preserve the histories, competitions, and traditions that enrich our communities.”
UCLA and USC announced last month that they would be transferring to the Big Ten In 2024, which shocked the college football world and greatly expanded the Big Ten footprint.
USC, as a private university, is not part of the UC school system. UCLA, which is why Newsom is talking. Moving to the Big Ten put Berkeley and the Pac-12 Conference at risk of losing millions in media rights revenue and more.
While Newsom wants an explanation, one benefit is already clear. Reportedly, The Big Ten’s upcoming media rights deal is expected to be worth over $1 billion. That would greatly help the Bruins’ athletic department, which is said to be in debt and was on the verge of cutting many sports altogether before moving on.
“I inherited a deficit with UCSD athletics,” the school’s director of athletics, Martin Garmond ESPN . said. “So when you have a big financial challenge, it’s just hard to maintain, and you don’t bother investing. This move not only preserves the programs we have now, but also allows us to invest in them at levels that can lead to more competitive success.”
It is unclear whether UCLA will respond to Newsom’s request. There is no requirement that the athletic department obtain permission from the University of California system for transfer of conferences. According to the report, there is talk of UCSD being asked to pay UC Berkeley an “exit fee” to leave the conference or even share future television revenue. It is unclear whether university governors can impose such a fine.
“It’s about more than sport and more than money,” Newsom’s lead education advisor, Ben Sheda He told The Times,. “It is about public trust. It is about the mental health of the student-athlete. It is about honoring century-old partnerships, history, and traditions.”