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California governor incensed over UCLA leaving Pac-12, says state is investigating planned move

Gavin Newsom says he learned of UCLA's planned move via media reports

As governor of California, Gavin Newsom likewise is entrusted with oversight of the state’s massive, 10-campus university system.

So common sense might suggest that Newsom would have been among the very few people in the know last month as UCLA, along with private institution USC, announced plans to abandon Pac-12 Conference membership and join the Big Ten Conference in two years.

Speaking candidly with FOX-11 TV Los Angeles, Newsom declared he knew nothing in advance of the schools’ plans.

“I read about it. I read about it,” said Newsom, whose oversight duties for the UC system include the appointment of board of regents. “I’m the governor, no big deal, governor of the state of California.

“Maybe a bigger deal is that I’m the chair of the UC regents. I read about it.”

Newsom doubled down on his being surprised at the move and indicated he was unaware that any discussion about the Bruins’ planned departure for the Midwestern and East Coast-based Big Ten had been broached at the higher levels.

“Is it a good idea? Did we discuss merits or demerits?,” Newsom asked. “I’m not aware that anyone did. So it was done in isolation, it was done without any regental oversight or support. It was done without any consideration to my knowledge.

“Now, perhaps there was deep conversation with other presidents, rather chancellors and presidents in the system it will impact more broadly. Not just to the UCs but to the other universities, including Stanford University.”

Though Newsom did not divulge what action or actions he believed could potentially be taken in the wake of UCLA’s decision, he emphasized the office of the governor is investigating the matter.

“I have strong opinions about this for no other reason that as a member of the regents, we were never consulted, never asked for an opinion and they didn’t have the decency to provide heads-up,” Newsom said. “Trust me when I say this, we’re not going to be looking into it; we already are looking into it within minutes after reading about this in the newspaper.”