In a letter presented to the UCLA Board of Regents before a closed session Thursday to discuss UCLA’s proposed move to the Big Ten conference, Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkov outlined his “big concerns” about the move, including the impact on student mental health. athlete, increased travel and operating costs, and negative impacts on both Cal’s revenue and climate goals for the University of California system.
Klivakov’s letter was submitted in response to a request from the referees regarding the conference’s view on the University of California’s move, according to a source.
“Despite all the explanations offered after the fact, it was clear that UCLA’s decision to join the Big Ten was financially motivated after the UCLA Sports Division had accumulated more than $100 million in debt over the past three financial years,” Kliavkoff wrote. .
He said UCLA’s increased revenue will be fully offset by higher costs from additional travel, the need for competitive salaries within the Big Ten and game guarantee expenses.
“UCLA currently spends approximately $8.1 million annually on travel for its teams to compete in the Pac-12 conference,” Kliavkov said. UCLA will incur a 100% increase in its team’s travel costs if it takes commercial flights in the Big Ten ($8.1 million annually), a 160% increase if it charters half-time ($13.1 million annually), and 290% An increase if they charter each flight (an increase of $23 million per year).”
Kliavkoff did not say how those numbers were calculated or indicate whether there was a real belief that UCLA would consider charter travel for teams other than football and basketball.
According to a source familiar with UCLA’s internal estimates, the school is operating with the expectation that it will spend about an additional $6-10 million annually on travel in the Big Ten versus the Pac-12.
Kliavkoff predicted that moving to the Big Ten would also cause UCLA to spend more on salaries to align with conference standards. He estimated that UCLA would need to raise the athletics department’s salaries by about $15 million for the university to reach the average in the Big Ten.
“Any financial gain UCLA will make by joining the Big Ten will ultimately end up going to airlines, charter airlines, salaries for administrators and coaches, and other beneficiaries rather than providing any additional resources to student-athletes,” Klyavkov said.
A UCLA spokesperson declined to comment.
University of California President Michael F. Drake, who was formerly the president of Ohio, in An interview with the New York Times“There are no decisions. I think everyone is gathering information. It’s an evolving situation.”
In addition to UCLA’s financial impact, which is widely understood to be the driving factor in its planned plan, Kliavkoff said it would also hurt Cal, which is also part of the UC system. As media rights negotiations continued, Kliavkoff said it would have been difficult to reveal the exact impact without disclosing classified information, but confirmed that Pac-12 is soliciting bids with and without UCLA in the fold.
Along with the additional travel financial component, Klyavkov said that “media research published by the National Institutes of Health, studies by the NCAA, and discussions with student-athlete leaders” show that the move would have a negative impact on student-athletes. “Mental health and disengagement from their academic pursuits. It will also be a burden for family and alumni to face cross-country trips to see UCLA teams play,” he added.
Finally, Kliavkoff said the additional travel goes against the UC system’s climate goals and works against UCLA’s commitment to “climate neutrality” by 2025.
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