Gavin Newsom threatens action against UCLA due to Big Ten move

Gavin Newsom threatens action against UCLA due to Big Ten move

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Gavin Newsom continues to put himself in his favorite place to be. The news.

This time he’s making headlines with regards to UCLA’s impending 2024 move out of the Pac-12 Conference to the Big 10.

In a recent interview with Fox 11 in Los Angeles, Newsom explained how he heard about UCLA’s decision and his initial reactions to it.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

He specifically highlighted that UCLA did not give advance notice to the University of California system’s Board of Regents, saying the negotiations were “done in isolation” and without their “oversight or support.”

The full quote is even more critical, with Newsom implying he was frustrated with finding out about it in the news like everyone else:

“I read about it (is how I found out),” Newsom said in the interview. “No big deal. I’m the governor of the state of California. But maybe a bigger deal is that I’m the chair of the UC Board of Regents. I read about it. Is it a good idea? Did we have a chance to discuss the merits (of the decision)? I’m not aware anyone did. So it was done in isolation. It was done without regental oversight or support. It was done without any consideration to my knowledge.”

He also expressed that in his mind, the decision lacked “decency” and that the impact will be felt throughout the state’s universities, not just the UC schools:

Dorian Thompson-Robinson #1 of the UCLA Bruins calls a play to Kam Brown #0 during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rose Bowl on October 02, 2021 in Pasadena, California.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson #1 of the UCLA Bruins calls a play to Kam Brown #0 during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Rose Bowl on October 02, 2021 in Pasadena, California. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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“And (there is) the impact more broadly, not just to the UC system but to other universities including Stanford and basically the Cal State system … I have strong opinions about this for no other reason than that as a member of the regents, we were never consulted, never asked for an opinion, and they didn’t even have the decency to provide a heads up.”

For his part, Martin Jarmond, the UCLA Athletic Director, claimed the move was mostly about increasing “exposure” in the NIL era. By opening the school up to potentially more nationally televised games and East Coast markets, Jarmond says they can now provide an enhanced opportunity for student-athletes to find “their voice and their brand and what’s important to them.”

But importantly Newsom also signaled that UCLA might not be able to pack their bags as quickly as expected.

During the interview he stated that the Regents have already been “looking into it” with regards to potential options:

“Trust me when I say this: We are not going to be looking into. We are already looking into it within (and have been) minutes after reading about this in the newspaper.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a bill signing ceremony at Nido's Backyard Mexican Restaurant on February 09, 2022 in San Francisco, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to extend COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for workers.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a bill signing ceremony at Nido’s Backyard Mexican Restaurant on February 09, 2022 in San Francisco, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to extend COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for workers. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

UCLA has been in deep financial trouble, accruing over $100 million in debt in just the past few years. The Big 10 currently offers significant revenue advantages over the Pac-12 and undoubtedly will allow UCLA to clear up its poor finances more quickly.

Whether or not Newsom and the UC Board of Regents will be able to do anything to stop or slow the move remains to be seen. But it’s odd that Newsom is on one hand claiming that he’s a champion of “freedom” in California while doing his best to impede UCLA’s freedom to improve their stature and financial situation.

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Like many who have fled his state’s managerial incompetence, UCLA has found greener pastures with an organization based elsewhere. Newsom apparently just doesn’t like losing.

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