LOS ANGELES – UCLA is officially heading to the Big Ten Conference after the University of California Board of Regents voted to approve the move.
The regents approved the move by an 11-5 vote during a special meeting Wednesday to allow the Bruins to leave the Pacific-12 Conference, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The board included other conditions for UCLA, including money for academic support, nutritional support and mental health services, ESPN reported.
“We looked at the reality of where we are and what the alternatives were,” board of regents chair Richard Leib told ESPN. “And I think in the end we just decided that the best thing to do is the way we did it, which is conditions, but allow them to go.”
The subsidy will be determined after the Pac-12 finalizes its coming media rights deal, The Orange County Register reported. The board vote stipulated that the subsidy would be between $2 million and $10 million.
The so-called “Berkeley Tax” on UCLA would serve as a subsidy for Cal-Berkeley, helping the Bears offset an expected reduction in revenue caused by the Bruins’ departure, the Times reported.
“We’ve always been guided by what is best for our 25 teams and more than 700 student-athletes,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said. “The Big Ten offers exciting new competitive opportunities on a bigger national media platform for our student-athletes to compete and showcase their talent.”
In July, officials with the Big Ten voted to accept the applications of UCLA and the University of Southern California to join the conference.
The two Los Angeles-based schools, the flagship programs of the Pac-12, can start competing in Big Ten events beginning in 2024.
The move is for all sports at USC and UCLA, which have 21 and 20 varsity sports, respectively, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Big Ten will now have 16 members in a conference that will stretch from coast to coast. The two schools will officially join the Big Ten on Aug. 2, 2024, USC said in a news release.
Critics of the move included Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff, UCLA basketball legend Bill Walton and Ramogi Huma, a former Bruins linebacker and executive director of the National College Players Association.
“The UC Regents are now complicit in sacrificing UCLA athletes’ education to increase salaries for a few people and to gold plate a few more facilities,” Huma said in a statement. “Allowing UC Berkeley to join the financial and academic exploitation of UCLA athletes does not make it any better. UCLA leaders and UC Regents have lost their way. UCLA athletes are not university property. They should be treated fairly in both the educational and business aspects of college sports. This move does neither.”