California Gov. Gavin Newsom did not mince words when asked about UCLA’s departure for the Big Ten Conference.
“Trust me when I say this,” Newsom told Fox 11 Los Angeles, “we’re not going to be looking into it. We already are looking into it, within minutes after reading about this in the newspaper.”
As governor, Newsom serves as an ex officio member of the University of California’s Board of Regents, the organization that oversees 10 California universities, including UCLA and Cal-Berkeley, both current members of the Pac-12 Conference.
On June 30, it became official that both UCLA and USC would leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024.
The UC regents will discuss UCLA’s move during a meeting next week, Jon Wilner of the Bay Area News Group reported Tuesday.
Newsom talked about the decision-making process behind UCLA’s move, telling Fox 11 the process “was done in isolation. It was done without any regental oversight or support.”
“I have strong opinions about this, for no other reason than 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,” Newsom said.
With the Pac-12 losing both USC and UCLA in two years, that will leave the conference with 10 members, including the University of Utah, and the loss of the lucrative Los Angeles market.
Since the announcement of USC’s and UCLA’s eventual departure, the Pac-12 has announced it will explore expansion, and has begun negotiations for its next media rights agreement.