UC President pushes UCLA to pay $10 million annually to Cal over Big 10 move

UCLA is set to profit handsomely from its move to the Big 10, while Cal will see smaller revenue and increased travel costs in the ACC.

University of California President Michael Drake has recommended that UCLA pay UC Berkeley $10 million annually for six years because of UCLA’s move to the Big 10. 

Drake recommends that Berkeley needs the money because of the financial impact Cal will feel by not joining UCLA in the Big 10 with the Pac-12 imploding. 


The big picture: The recommendation will be voted on by the UC Board of Regents during a meeting at UC Merced on Tuesday. 

  • UCLA agreed to pay UC Berkeley between $2 million and $10 million in order for the Regents to affirm UCLA’s move to the Big Ten in December 2022.
  • Cal agreed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) last year after the Pac-12 couldn’t negotiate a media deal, resulting in eight Pac-12 members leaving.
  • Cal will face increased travel costs and a reduced share of the ACC’s media rights deal compared to UCLA’s annual media rights distribution from the Big Ten, resulting in a difference of approximately $50 million per year.

Go deeper: Drake recommends the possibility of reevaluating UCLA’s contribution if there is a significant change in revenues and/or expenses exceeding 10% over 2024-25 projections.

  • UCLA and USC announced their departure from the Pac-12 for the Big Ten on June 30, 2022. However, USC is a private institution and not part of the UC system.
  • The Regents became involved in the decision after Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized UCLA for not giving advance notice to the Regents about the move.
  • In August 2022, the Regents affirmed UCLA’s decision but retain the authority to review decisions impacting the UC system.
  • UCLA also agreed to make additional investments in athletes, including nutritional support, mental health services, academic support while traveling, and charter flights to reduce travel time.
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