SAN FRANCISCO — USC‘s and UCLA‘s upcoming move to the Big Ten has not been popular with their supporters, according to Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff.
Both USC and UCLA will become full members of the Big Ten in 2024 after an offseason move that changed the structure of college sports.
During Pac-12 basketball media day on Wednesday, Kliavkoff said he’s spoken to more than 100 people connected to both programs, including players and coaches, and the consensus has been against the move to the Big Ten.
“I think saying hundreds would be an exaggeration — dozens, more than a hundred,” he said. “And I have yet to talk to anyone in the UCLA and USC community who’s in favor of the move. I will say that I probably hear from folks who are not in favor, not surprisingly.”
Kliavkoff’s comments follow his continued promotion of the Pac-12’s future without USC and UCLA, while also questioning the collective value of the change for the Trojans and Bruins.
Last month, he sent a letter to the University of California system regents that stated UCLA’s move to the Big Ten would create financial challenges for the Bruins. He reiterated those claims Wednesday without providing specific numbers.
According to reports, UCLA will reap an eight-figure gain annually when it joins the Big Ten.
“We believe that between the travel and coaches’ salaries and some of the other expenses that you incur when you join the Big Ten, that the small delta in the [Big Ten] media rights deal will be more than offset and we stand by those numbers,” Kliavkoff said.
Oregon men’s basketball coach Dana Altman said he’s “disappointed” by USC and UCLA leaving the Pac-12, noting that the Los Angeles market has been important for recruiting and the league’s overall prominence.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it,” Altman said Wednesday. “It’s not good for our league. But we’ll survive. We’ve got 10 good teams. It’s our challenge to improve.”
Mick Cronin, who guides a UCLA men’s basketball squad that was picked to win the Pac-12 this upcoming season, said he’s not interested in discussing the Big Ten move because he wants his current team to get the attention.
“Everybody, today, should be talking about our players and all these kids that are working so hard,” Cronin said Wednesday.