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Pac-12 commissioner open to possibility of UCLA remaining in conference

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The June announcement that USC and UCLA would depart from the Pac-12 conference to join the Big Ten in 2024 sent shock waves through the world of college athletics. 

The two California schools have long been West Coast powerhouses in a wide array of sports, and their departure will leave the Pac-12 clamoring to remain relevant in the national picture. 

While USC is a private school and can come and go as they please, UCLA is a public institution and part of the University of California system. Due to this fact, the University of California regents are able to scrutinize UCLA’s move to the Big Ten and its impact on the other California school in the Pac-12 – UC Berkeley.

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In August, the Los Angeles Times reported that there may be a way for the UC regents to block UCLA’s departure from the Pac-12. 

“All options are on the table,” regent John Perez said after an August regents’ meeting, according to the LA Times

“All options are on the table,” Perez repeated, “up to and including that. … We’re going to look at what all the different options look like and then the board will assert itself in terms of what its desired outcome is.”

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On the latest episode of the “Canzano & Wilmer” podcast, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff discussed the possibility of UCLA remaining in the conference. 

“We welcome the ongoing review of UCLA’s decision by the UC Board of Regents,” Kliavkoff said. “Particularly in light of the fact that the initial decision was made, we understand, without consultation with student-athletes, faculty, alumni, student athletes’ families, Cal Berkeley, or the Board of Regents and some other key stakeholders. 

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“We also saw the meeting that the Board of Regents had last month and were kind of enlightened, in particular, because the board of regents conclusion by their general counsel that was testifying as part of that hearing, was that they have the right to overturn the decision. They believe that doing so is warranted.”

Kliavkoff went on to discuss the financial implications for UCLA should they join the Big Ten, at least according to the Pac 12’s calculations. 

“We’ve kind of done back-of-the-envelope calculations on the negative impact of UCLA expenses, travel expenses and coaching salaries and other things, just to get to the average Big Ten athletic budget,” Kliavkoff said.

“We think that the incremental money they’re going to receive from the Big Ten media rights deal will be more than 100% offset by additional expenses. So, you end up taking that money that you earn, and it goes to airline and charter companies and coaches and administrators. It doesn’t go to supporting the student-athletes.”

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