Nebraska Football: Pac 12 makes one final push to block UCLA exit

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

While some Nebraska football fans await with baited breath the addition of two new teams to the Big Ten, it appears that the Pac 12 isn’t going down without a fight. In fact, the conference has reportedly pulled out one final stop in an attempt to halt UCLA’s exit. And it might have some allies in the California College System’s Board of Regents.

The New York Times reports  that Pac 12 commissioner George Kliavkoff recently sent a three-page letter to the regents explaining why UCLA’s departure for the Big Ten would be disastrous for the team and the school.

Among other claims that Kliavkoff made, he said that he doesn’t believe leadership for the Bruins really thought out the idea of joining the Nebraska football team and the rest of the Big Ten. He claimed that the Bruins made the move largely to avoid a rather large hole of debt it had racked up.

However, the abruptness of the decision caught many people on the BOR by surprise and drew the ire of some prominent members of the California state government, including Governor Gavin Newsom.

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The letter from the Pac 12 appears to be a last ditch effort to keep UCLA from leaving. Last month, the board of regents made it clear it was going to take a look at whether or not they block the Bruins from making a move. Several among the group feel they do indeed have the authority for such a measure. At question is whether or not they should get in the way of the school making a move that will see it get a piece a massive new TV rights deal.

If the letter can be described as a “last-ditch effort,” it’s not clear how effective it was yet. After the sessions ended, U.C. President Michael Drake said in a brief interview that he thought everybody was still “collecting information.” He added that “it’s an evolving situation.”

Richard Leib, who chairs the Board of Regents might have inadvertently thrown some cold water on the conference’s hopes. He said that nothing in the letter was new, though it did clarify some things. He added that he wasn’t sure when the board would make a decision.

There are several factors to consider in this kind of situation. The first is that everyone involved is going to have egg on their face if UCLA is blocked from joining USC in moving to the Big Ten. There are other issues, including the Pac 12 closing its own media rights deal. And then of course, there’s schedules that are going to have to include teams like the Nebraska football team … or not.