Bill Walton isn’t here for UCLA moving to the Big Ten.
The Bruins icon and ESPN analyst said Tuesday that it is now his “hope and dream” that UCLA’s planned move to the Big Ten with USC will “be rescinded.”
"I am not in favor of UCLA's recent announced decision to leave the Pac-12 Conference of Champions, nor their desire to join the Big Ten,” he told columnist John Cazano on Tuesday in a statement. “I don't like this attempted move, I don't support it, I hope it does not happen …
"I don't believe that joining the Big Ten is in the best interest of UCLA, its students, its athletes, its alumni, its fans, the rest of the UC system, the State of California, or the world at large."
Both USC and UCLA are set to join the Big Ten conference in 2024 in one of the biggest conference shakeups in recent history.
The move has drawn plenty of condemnation from those in and around the Pac-12, including from California Gov. Gavin Newsom. USC is a private institution while UCLA is part of the UC school system.
Walton, a college analyst with ESPN, was a three-time national Player of the Year at UCLA in the 1970s. He led the Bruins to two titles, and his teams went an incredible 86-4. He then spent nearly 15 years in the NBA and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
Part of Walton’s issue with the decision has to do with how it will impact sports other than football, especially when it comes to travel time and cost.
“I have spoken to no one, other than the highest-level directors of athletics at UCLA, who think that this proposed move to the Big Ten is a good idea,” he wrote. “Every argument made by these senior ADs and why the like it is about money. These same proponents of moving to the Big Ten are the first people I have ever encountered in my life who have claimed economic hardship and limitations in Los Angeles, and that the solution lies in the Midwest.”