In a letter to the University of California Board of Regents ahead of Thursday’s closed-door session to discuss UCLA’s proposed move to the Big Ten Conference, Pac-12 Commissioner George Gliavkoff described the “significant concerns” he had with the move, including the student. -Athlete mental health, increased travel and operational costs, and negative impacts on both Cal’s revenue and the UC system’s climate goals.
According to one source, Klivakoff’s letter was issued in response to the regents’ request for the conference’s perspective on UCLA’s move.
“Despite all explanations made after the fact, UCLA’s decision to join the Big Ten was financially motivated after the UCLA athletics department accumulated more than $100 million in debt over the past three fiscal years,” Kliavkoff wrote.
From there, the increased revenue that UCLA could receive would be fully offset by the increased costs that come from increased travel, the need for competitive salaries within the Big Ten and game guarantee costs.
“UCLA currently spends approximately 8.1 million per year on travel for its teams to compete in the Pac-12 Conference,” Kliavkoff said. “UCLA would see a 100% increase in its team travel expenses if it flew commercially in the Big Ten ($8.1 million increase per year), a 160% increase ($13.1 million per year) if chartered half-time, and a 290% increase if it chartered each plane ($23 million increase per year). ).”
Kliavkoff did not say how those figures were calculated or whether there was any real hope that UCLA would consider charter travel for teams other than football and basketball.
According to UCLA’s internal estimate, the school expects to spend about $6-10 million a year on travel in the Big Ten versus the Pac-12, according to information on increased travel costs.
Gliavkoff speculates that the move to the Big Ten will lead UCLA to spend more on salary to comply with conference regulations. He estimated that UCLA would need to increase its athletic department salaries by approximately $15 million in order for UCLA to reach the Big Ten average.
“Any financial gains UCLA achieves from joining the Big Ten will go to airlines and charters, salaries of administrators and coaches and other recipients instead of providing additional resources to student-athletes,” Kliavkoff said.
A spokeswoman for UCLA declined to comment.
In an interview with the New York Times, former Ohio State president Michael V. Drake said, “There are no conclusions. I think everyone is gathering information. It’s a growing situation.”
Beyond UCLA’s financial impact, Kliavkoff said the Big Ten is the primary driving factor for the city of UCLA, which also affects the morning, which is overseen by the UC system, as is UCLA. While negotiations over media rights are ongoing, Kliavkoff said it’s difficult to reveal the exact impact without disclosing confidential information, but confirmed that the conference will solicit bids with and without UCLA.
Beyond the financial component of added travel, Gliavkoff said, “media research published by the National Institutes of Health, studies conducted by the NCAA and discussions with our own student-athlete leaders” can have a negative impact on the mental health of student-athletes. and take away from their educational objectives. He added that it would be a burden for family and alumni to face cross-country trips to watch UCLA’s teams play.
Finally, Gliavkoff said the trip runs counter to the UC system’s climate coal and UCLA’s commitment to “climate neutrality” by 2025.