So when U.C.L.A. was deep in talks with U.S.C., the Big Ten and its media partner, Fox Sports, U.C.L.A Chancellor Gene Block informed Drake, the U.C. president who oversees the university chancellors. Drake is a seasoned participant in that world, having served as chair of the N.C.A.A. Board of Governors when he was the president at Ohio State.
While Block informed Drake of the talks, only a handful of regents were aware until shortly before the Los Angeles schools’ departure was reported on June 30 by the San Jose Mercury News. The political ramifications were quickly made clear when Newsom, who is a nonvoting board member and appoints some of the regents, was upset at the lack of transparency because of its impact on another U.C. school.
Still, the move seemed little more than a fait accompli until Charlie Robinson, the U.C. general counsel, told the regents last month that they had the power to nix the agreement. “When the regents and the president extended authority to the chancellors, they didn’t give it away,” Robinson told the regents last month.
Leib, the board chair, said on Wednesday that “in my mind, this is absolutely in the purview of the regents.” He said he expected the board would make a decision on whether to intervene by the end of the year. “By November, it will get more clear.”
Among the considerations for the regents is potential litigation, no matter what decision they make, Leib said Wednesday. If the regents force U.C.L.A. to remain in the Pac-12, “it would be a big deal,” Leib said. “There would be a lot of people happy and a lot of people upset.”
Block was asked Thursday morning, standing outside the Price Center, the U.C. San Diego student center where the three-day meeting was held this week, if he was surprised by the place U.C.L.A. finds itself in.