UCLA AD Martin Jarmond: ‘If you stand still, you’re falling behind’

10 Jul 2022 | 08:11

UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond was at the forefront of UCLA and USC leaving the Pac-12 Conference and pursuing a move to the Big Ten Conference.

While the Bruins won’t compete in the Big Ten until 2024, last week’s sudden announcement helped create many questions about the overall state and direction of college football.

Jarmond is no stranger to the Big Ten, having worked at Michigan State and Ohio State, before leaving to become athletic director at Boston College in 2017 and then taking on the same role at UCLA in May 2020.

During his tenure at UCLA, Jarmond helped lead the university’s athletic department through the pandemic and forged exciting new partnerships with Jordan Brand and Nike.

Here are Jarmond’s comments during his interview with the Southern California News Group:

Q: Did your previous experience working for a competing Big Ten college prove to be helpful in the transition from UCLA to the Big Ten Conference?

ONE: Having some familiarity with the Big Ten helped because I spent a lot of time at conventions in Michigan State and Ohio State. I have a feeling for organizations and competitions and what it’s like, doing things right with high level academics and athletics. Acquaintances helped to attend that conference for 15 years, and relationships became important in life. When you’re lucky enough to be in contact with the top people in their profession and with good people, it always helps. You just never know. Relationships matter, and those relationships matter, especially when you’re evaluating a huge opportunity like this.

Q: When you took the job at UCLA, was the last thing you expected to be back in the Big Ten again?

ONE: In college athletics, it’s been turbulent and it’s been a challenging time, but there’s been so much change and disruption, so I’ll tell you this past year, as an athletic director. sports, you’re constantly looking at the landscape and trying to think best of how to position your program for the future. We want to be a show that works from a strong position because there is a high level of expectation of competing and winning and doing it right away, and that is Bruin’s tradition and excellence. As a sports director, I’ve been looking at the big picture over the past year and really analyzing where I think it’s going and that’s certainly part of the calculation of how attractive the Big Ten and the ability to provide competition and opportunities for greater exposure and do things that will benefit student-athletes in this type of environment.

Q: Would you be pleased with how things turned out the way they did and the outcome could have been different, if news of the move had been made public sooner?

ONE: I think whenever you make a decision of this magnitude, it has to be a really small and tight circle. It’s just the reality of how these things are done and so I think UCLA and the Big Ten are really working towards this so quickly and quietly because you don’t. can afford to have this kind of information to be in the public domain and something of this importance. You just hope that everyone is acting in good faith and working diligently and doing their due diligence so that it works. I think they voted on June 30, presidents and prime ministers, and it was a unanimous vote. And until then, you’re just waiting and I’m glad it turned out that way.

Q: How important do you think this move is to the future of UCLA athletics and its sports teams?

ONE: I firmly believe that if you stand still, then you are falling behind. And while we’ve had a lot of success in all of our sports, it’s our job to ensure that we continue to achieve success or even more as we move forward. and do what we need to have the resources to win and compete at a high level to attract top talent and grow. You need resources to do that. Our team of coaches and programs understand that there are things they will want to do to help our student-athletes, whether it’s nutrition, mental health and other things. will help them to develop comprehensively and compete. You have to provide those resources and it is important to have those resources and provide that stability as a foundation to continue to win at high levels in the future. This is not a decision for now, it is a decision for the future of UCLA athletics and how we best position our athletics programs for sustainable excellence moving forward. in a changing college athletics environment.

Q: Are there any shared sentiments with the Pac-12, such as an increased revenue share, that would keep you guys coming to the conference?

MJ: I don’t have any conversations with the Pac-12, we will be on the Pac-12 again in the next two years and we are proud members of the Pac-12. We have a long history in Pac-12 and we’re going to be fully engaged and competitive and making great teammates in Pac-12. This is about the future and where we think we are academically and athletically, it makes the most sense for our athletes and program to continue to compete at a high level. .

Q: What would you say to the UCLA fan base about changing tradition and what has been the norm for several years?

ONE: I understand that change is difficult and that in any walk of life change often comes with some positives and some negatives. That’s life and that’s reality and I get it. What I mean is this: If you support UCLA student-athletes and our athletics programs and you want to see us succeed, compete and win, then you should support this move. because what it does is allows us to compete with some of the best institutions in the country and gives us a national platform to showcase the skills and talents of our student-athletes and also provide vital resources to help us fund, invest and grow and continue to support our teams to win and compete. That’s what you want is to compete at a high level and continue the trajectory of UCLA athletics and what we’ve been as leaders in this space. If you want us to lead, win and keep winning championships, then we need everyone on board because this is where we are going.

Q: All indications are that UCLA will compete at the Rose Bowl Stadium next year, but is there any interference in the transition to the Big Ten because of some of the existing ties between the Pac-12 and Big Ten?