UCLA To Big Ten Still In Limbo As Players’ Rights Group Tries To Convince UC Board To Reject Move

UCLA logo across the front of a basketball jersey.

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USC and UCLA shocked the college sports world over the summer by announcing their intentions to move from the PAC 12 to the Big Ten. The two West Coast staples plan to begin competing in their new league by 2024.

The transition would come with both pros and cons. The most obvious, and most heavily weighted payoff would be a significant uptick in revenue.

By moving to the Big Ten, experts say UCLA and USC could rack up more than $100M annually in media rights given their new affiliation. The conference recently signed a massive deal with CBS, NBC, and FOX worth $1B a year. Being able to have the Los Angeles market was instrumental in making that agreement happen, creating a win-win situation for both the conference and its new members.

But with the positive comes the negative. Many online were critical of the move for a variety of reasons. Historic rivalries will be destroyed. How will teams perform in cold weather environments? Scheduling and travel will create obstacles and inconveniences for student-athletes, not to mention the price increase for flights to the Midwest.

The National Collegiate Players Association is the most recent opposition, and on Tuesday, it penned a note to the University of California Board of Regents in an attempt to convince members to reject the move.

While UCLA has announced its plan to move to the Big Ten, the UC Board of Regents still has the power to deny. When the news originally broke, Governor Gavin Newsome stated that the PAC 12 could look into blocking the move. They still have the ability to do so, though it’s considered highly unlikely that it will happen at this point.

The NCPA pled its case, calling the move “a short-sighted money grab” that will “harm college athletes in many ways.”

UCLA has done its best to find solutions to minimize the financial impact of traveling across the country for competition, as well as create a positive experience for student-athletes. Those suggestions include sharing flights with USC sports teams and scheduling opponents in similar locales (i.e., Michigan/Michigan St or Indiana/Purdue). The school also sent a survey to students to gauge both intrigue and support of the move.

Whether or not it’s enough to convince the Board of Regents is yet to be seen. A final decision on the move is expected to occur on December 14.