The day after USC and UCLA announced their intent to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, UCLA chancellor Gene Block wrote to University of Washington president Ana Mari Cauce to apologize for not giving prior notice — and said the decision to leave the conference was “personally anguishing,” per a copy of the letter obtained by The Athletic via records request. Here’s what you need to know:

USC and UCLA shook the college football landscape with their June 30 announcement that they intend to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten before the 2024 football season. The news blindsided Pac-12 leadership, from commissioner George Kliavkoff to the presidents and chancellors who form the league’s governing body.

Cauce, Washington’s president since 2015, began her term as chair of the Pac-12 executive committee on July 1, one day after the UCLA-USC news broke.

Block, UCLA’s chancellor since 2007, is not considered to be particularly hands-on with athletics, one of the reasons why the Bruins’ exodus was more surprising than the Trojans’.

 

Backstory

While USC’s departure has been a certainty since the day it was announced, UCLA’s decision to leave the Pac-12 has been met with at least some resistance by the University of California Board of Regents, which has discussed concerns related to the move on multiple occasions, including at an hours-long public hearing in August.