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UCLA AD: Big Ten move saves school’s Olympic sports

Apr 14, 2022; Fort Worth, TX, USA; UCLA gymnast Norah Flatley during the session two semi finals at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA’s big move out of the Pac-12 spared the athletic department from considerations that would have included cutting Olympic sports.

According to Bruins athletic director Martin Jarmond, debt in the athletic department put multiple sports in peril.

“If you love Olympic sports, you should be a fan of this move,” Jarmond told the Los Angeles Times. “When your program is in significant debt, it’s difficult just to maintain, never mind to invest. This not only preserves the programs now — which was not a given — but also will allow us to invest in them. This move allows us to reimagine what UCLA athletics can be with more strategic investment and resources.”

Those resources won’t begin trickling into the coffers until 2024, when UCLA and USC officially join the Big Ten conference. The men’s volleyball and water polo programs are planning to remain in the Pacific Sports Federation. Beach volleyball is staying in the Pac-12 as the Big Ten doesn’t sponsor teams in Midwest locales such as Champaign, Ill., or Lincoln, Neb.

Big paydays are coming primarily through TV and media rights agreements for men’s basketball and football.

Of the traditional non-revenue sports, USC brings a dominant men’s tennis program, a national champion women’s track program (2018, 2021) and UCLA has been top-of-class in the Pac-12 in baseball and gymnastics.

–Field Level Media