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Could UC Prevent UCLA From Joining Big Ten?

August 18, 2022

Leaders of the University of California are discussing plans to use the system’s authority to prevent the University of California, Los Angeles, from leaving the Pac-12 athletic conference and joining the Big Ten, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It has been widely assumed that UCLA has the right to leave because of a 1991 system policy that lets campus chancellors negotiate contracts, including those that involve intercollegiate athletics.

But several members of the Board of Regents and a lawyer for the board asserted Wednesday that this need not be the case.

“It’s important to understand that when the regents delegated authority to the president, they didn’t give it away or lose it,” UC system attorney Charlie Robinson said during a board meeting. “Essentially, what they did was extend it such that authority was with the regents and the president.”

“One mechanism would be for the [regent] board chair to say, ‘I’m directing you, in this instance, to stand down,’” Robinson said, “and the board will be exercising authority in this area.”

Regent John Perez told the Times that the regents retained the power to block UCLA’s move. “All options are on the table,” Perez said, “up to and including [blocking the deal] … We’re going to look at what all the different options look like and then the board will assert itself in terms of what its desired outcome is.”

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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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