USC, Pac-12 jet UCLA for Big Ten usher in pay-to-play future
Last week, USC and UCLA confirmed reports that they were conducting the Big Ten Conference.
Aside from the complexities of travel – the shortest commute for schools would be 1,501 miles to Lincoln, Nebraska – everything about the commute makes perfect sense.
From a football perspective, it could be back in relation to the West Coast. In the eight-year history of the College Football League, only two Pac-12 schools have made it to the top four (Oregon in 2015 and Washington in 2016). The lack of competition in the conference coupled with a lack of respect has led Pac-12 teams to watch the likes of Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson compete year after year.
So switching to the Big Ten could restore the school’s reputation. But this isn’t the only impactful news about the season for these schools.
In February, the California Senate began deliberations on Senate Bill 1401. SB 1401, also known as the “Gender Equality and College Athlete Race Act,” would require colleges in California provides 50% of the revenue from men’s and women’s soccer and basketball to their student-athletes.
G/O Media may receive a commission
Save 32% during prime day
Apple AirPods Pro
These earbuds have active noise cancellation, transparency mode to let in outside sound as needed, and active EQ to ensure you get the best out of your audio.
In May, the bill didn’t pass through the Appropriations Committee, and thus was dead for this legislative session. However, Sen. Steven Bradford, a major supporter of this bill, as well as SB 206 — the bill that helped assert Name, Image and Breed Rights (NIL) for college athletes in 2019 – said he’ll reintroduce it (or a very similar version of it) in December. And if it finally passes – especially before the schools move to the Big Ten in 2024 – it could completely change college football recruiting as we know it.
Under the bill, a USC soccer player in the Pac-12 could make $200,000 per year in shared revenue alone. That number will be added to any NIL transactions the student-athlete has agreed to. After transitioning to the Big Ten in 2024, that number could skyrocket.
In fiscal year 2019, Pac-12 paid an average of $33.6 million to its 12 members. However, the Big Ten paid an average of $49.2 million, with the longest-running members receiving an average of $54.3 million.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit both conferences hard. But one is hit harder than the other.
For 2020-2021, the Big Ten saw an 11.6% drop in revenue and paid their schools $47.8 million.
In the same year, the Pac-12 suffered a massive 35.7% drop in sales and just $19.8 million in distribution to their schools.
With this move, USC and UCLA could collect more than $20 million in additional revenue, and if SB 1401 or a similar measure passes, the student-athletes on their soccer and basketball teams they can too.
So, USC and UCLA can not only attract recruiters with sunny blue skies and their suitability in a conference like the Big Ten, but also, they can pay well over $200,000 a year for their student-athletes, before they start negotiating more money. NIL transaction.
And for reference on NIL transactions, within weeks of committing to the Trojan, upcoming transfer midfielder Caleb Williams has signed three different deals that are reported to be worth north of $400,000. la combined – Fanatics Authentics, a grooming brand called ‘Khoa’ and Beats By Dre. Andre Romelle Young, also known as Dr. Dre, supported the Iovine and Young Institute at USC and donated $70 million to found the school. It’s safe to assume that Williams won’t be the last Trojan to strike a deal with Beats By Dre.
Schools will have to wait several months before the bill is re-enacted. But then, all eyes will be on USC and UCLA football. Because after finishing with records of 4-8 and 8-4 respectively, the schools planned to jump into the upper Big Ten congress, setting themselves up for football fit. We’ll all wait and see if they can afford to offer their football rookies starting salaries of up to $200,000 a year. Not bad for the few schools that haven’t even sniffed the College Rugby Round since appearing and winning USC’s Rose Bowl during the 2016-2017 season.