Conference realignment insanity has gripped the college football world for the past half a year at least. Rumors of chess pieces crossing state borders and crossing conferences have captured the imagination of every college football fan. This imagination became real when it was announced that UCLA & USC would be making the move to the Big Ten. A new report from Front Office Sports has quelled the excitement for the UCLA move, however, laying the foundation for a potential reversal of the decision to join the Big Ten.
What is the hold-up with the UCLA move?
A 26-person academic board for the university system of California will be decided Thursday, November 17th, on the status of the move for UCLA. The report claims,
“The ruling will be a culmination of meetings, research, and public statements — some of which have come from the board’s chair, California Governor Gavin Newsom.”Amanda Christovich, Front Office Sports
Factors leading to hold-up with the UCLA move
Under consideration will be the financial implications not only for the student-athletes of UCLA but the other university of California system, specifically the University of California-Berkley. Items that will factor into the decision of the board will include:
- “UCLA has amassed a $103 million deficit and is in desperate need of extra funding.
- In the Big Ten, the school anticipates an increase in ticket and merchandise sales, as well as a lucrative media rights contract that could pay up to $70 million in media rights alone.
- The Pac-12’s current deal pays just a fraction of that, though the conference is currently engaged in talks for a new, and hopefully more valuable, package.
- There are major costs associated with the move, however. UCLA anticipates that it will have increased expenses of $9.15 million-$10.32 million per year in order to provide resources for travel, academics, nutrition, and mental health.”
The list above was provided within the article as well as some insight into the attitudes of the athletes affected most by this move.
The athlete’s reaction to the UCLA move
“In addition, the report offered a rare window into what some of the athletes themselves think of the move.
- Of a survey of 111 students, 35% thought the move would be positive, while 7% thought it would be negative. The rest did not have an opinion.
- Athletes’ biggest concerns were increased travel and missed classes. Almost 50% were concerned about playing games in cold weather.
- Almost 80% thought that “national exposure” would be a major benefit. More than half also agreed that increased NIL opportunities, athlete resources, and TV opportunities would come from moving the Big Ten.
- Importantly, however, only 42 of the respondents were from sports that would be significantly impacted by travel.”
The sport of college football has been under intense scrutiny due to the wild movement that conference realignment has caused, leading these types of measures to feel necessary for lawmakers to contemplate. By tomorrow, the deliberation should be resolved and the move should have its answer whether the Bruins will become Big Ten members or not.