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Newsom Demands UCLA Explain Decision to Leave Pac-12

July 21, 2022

California governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday demanded that the University of California, Los Angeles, explain how its leaving the Pac-12 conference for the Big Ten will benefit all its athletes and honor its relationship with UC Berkeley, the only UC campus that will be left behind—and that will likely take a big financial hit in a conference weakened by the loss of UCLA and the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“The first duty of every public university is to the people—especially students,” Newsom said in a statement. “UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this deal will improve the experience for all its student-athletes, will honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and will preserve the histories, rivalries, and traditions that enrich our communities.”

Newsom attended a meeting of the University of California board to raise the issue. The discussion was behind closed doors.

UCLA and Berkeley declined to comment.

As governor, Newsom does not have the authority to squelch the deal. But as a regent, he could ask his board colleagues to consider directives to UCLA about the deal—to explain it publicly or to propose ways to mitigate the financial fallout on Berkeley. The UC Office of the President delegated authority in 1991 to campus chancellors to execute their own contracts, including intercollegiate athletic agreements.

Ben Chida, the governor’s chief adviser on education, said, “It’s about more than sports and more than money … It’s about public trust. It’s about student-athlete mental health. And it’s about honoring the partnerships, histories and traditions that have lasted a century.”

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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