USC, UCLA exits could cost Pac-12 schools $13M

LOS ANGELES — The departures of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 Conference could mean an estimated loss of around $13 million per year in media rights for each of the remaining schools, according to an interim report issued by University of California Office of the President.

The report was released Wednesday during a Board of Regents meeting held at UCLA to address its move to the Big Ten Conference in 2024.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom demanded an explanation from UCLA about the move when he attended last month’s regents meeting in San Francisco. UCLA and USC announced on June 30 that the schools would be leaving the Pac-12 in two years. USC is a private institution and not part of the UC system.

Newsom, an ex officio member of the Board of Regents, did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.

The report says USC’s exit from the Pac-12 would mean an estimated loss of $9.8 million, or nearly 30%, of the conference’s media rights, for each of the remaining schools. UCLA’s departure would not be quite as drastic, with estimates of 10% or $3.25 million. It did not factor in losses in ticket sales.

The UC Board of Regents can’t force UCLA to reverse the decision. In 1991, campus chancellors were delegated authority by the UC Office of the President to execute their own contracts, including intercollegiate athletic agreements. The Regents, though, retain the authority to review decisions impacting the UC system.

The report is proposing new guidelines to prevent campuses from making major decisions that could impact sister campuses.

One proposal would require the UC president to give advance notice of a major athletic department decision to the board chair and committee chair that has jurisdiction. They would then decide if it should go before the entire Board of Regents.

Eight of UCLA’s 23 sports — baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, softball, gymnastics and women’s volleyball — would experience additional travel impact. Pamela Brown, the UC vice president of institutional research and academic planning, said the difference for some team’s travel could be an additional 24 hours.

The report said the benefits of the move to athletes in Olympic sports would be additional resources for tutors, greater competition and improved name image and likeness opportunities.

Football and men’s and women’s basketball use charter flights and would be minimally impacted.

Of the nine schools in the UC system, the biggest impact would be felt by Cal. The Bruins and Golden Bears have played each other in football since 1923.

UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on June 30 that changes to the landscape of collegiate athletics prompted the move. UCLA’s athletic department, which sponsors 23 sports, is facing a $102.8 million deficit with most of that coming in the past couple years.

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