Stop me if you've heard this one before: Politicians pulling a stunt just to coerce more money out of someone.

That's what the University of California Board of Regents has been doing since UCLA announced it was leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024, and on Wednesday they made it plain.

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The board voted to approve UCLA's move to the Big Ten by an 11-5 margin. It's a relative nothingburger of a story, though, considering any kind of political hamstringing of UCLA's plan would cost the school millions upon millions of dollars. Plus there's the tiny matter that some legal and academic experts aren't sure the board has the power to block the Bruins' transition to the Big Ten, rendering Wednesday's vote to approve about as significant as a 6-year-old child announcing his new bedtime of 9 p.m. months after his parents decided he could stay up an hour later.

What actually was newsworthy from the board's Wednesday meeting, though, was the enactment of a new tax to be levied against UCLA. A form of wealth redistribution, the so-called "Berkeley Tax" will benefit UCLA's athletically poorer, uglier sibling.

The board also approved an amendment that established what regents called the “Berkeley Tax” that will range from $2 million to $10 million subject to board approval. The tax on UCLA would serve as a subsidy for Cal, helping the Bears offset an expected reduction in revenue caused by the Bruins’ departure. Cal is the only other UC university in the Pac-12.

The “Berkeley Tax” is expected to be an annual payment, a source not authorized to speak publicly told The Times.

Whaddya know, this whole song and dance from the UC Board of Regents was about money! But hey, can you really blame the regents here? Politicians take hollow stands all the time, right up to the point where the right amount of money comes along and suddenly recalibrates their moral compass. Politicians also excel at implementing new taxes, positioned under the guise of necessity but really serving the purpose of covering for said politicians' perpetual mismanagement of public funding.

You can't blame the UC board any more than you can blame the scorpion for stinging the frog carrying it across the raging river. It's their nature!

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