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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

UCLA Might Have to Pay $10M a Year to Subsidize Cal Athletics

  • On May 14, the UC Board of Regents will consider approving a proposal that would mandate multimillion-dollar subsidies.
  • UCLA will earn $60 million a year from the Big Ten, while Cal will earn only $11 million from the ACC, the proposal estimated.
Nov 25, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Helmets at the line of scrimmage as UCLA Bruins long snapper Beau Gardner (60) snaps the ball against the California Golden Bears at the Rose Bowl.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This summer, UCLA will officially join the Big Ten—a conference move that will net the school tens of millions in extra revenue. But it will come with a significant price.

The University of California’s Board of Regents, which oversees multiple schools in the UC system, is considering a proposal for UCLA to begin annual payments of $10 million to subsidize Cal’s athletic department, according to a newly published proposal. The Board of Regents has been discussing a subsidy for more than a year, ever since UCLA announced its decision.

UCLA’s move, announced in 2022, contributed to the devaluing of the Pac-12, of which Cal was a member—and, ultimately, to the conference’s demise. Cal announced in ’23 that it would join the ACC. After this round of conference realignment, the two schools will face about $50 million in budget disparity, the proposal estimated: UCLA will receive an average of $60 million per year from the Big Ten, while Cal will receive only $11 million from the ACC. The difference, which will last at least seven years, is partially a result of Cal’s agreement to accept a reduced revenue share in the ACC, plus the anticipated increased cross-country travel costs.

The Board of Regents announced other considerations for bridging the gap, including “the development of new department revenue streams, additional philanthropic support, consolidating athletic scholarships to the campus Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, and an additional extraordinary payout from athletics related endowed funds.”

The board will discuss and vote on the proposal Tuesday, May 14, in both closed and open sessions.

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