Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott's expansion dreams aren't finished. No, the conference isn't trying to add another team. Scott is looking across the Pacific Ocean to China to help expand the conference's brand.
This is the second year of Scott's long-term effort to increase the Pac-12's presence in Asia. This summer, four groups from the conference will — or have — made trips to China. A conference All-Star volleyball team was the first to take the journey, spending 13 days there.
Scott said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he expected the Pac-12 to play regular-season games in China within the next few years, and that he hoped the league's cable network would someday be available there.
"That's the next step," the Pac-12 commissioner said. "That's something we will be evaluating this summer. Taking the next step would be a regular season men's basketball game in China. Whether that's a nonconference game early in the season or during holiday time. There's a robust fan base for basketball in China, 300 million basketball fans."
Scott said the earliest such a game would happen would be the 2014-15 regular season.
Arizona State's men's basketball team and Cal's women's basketball program will head across the Pacific next month to play a series of exhibition games against Chinese teams. UCLA went over to China last summer in the first step of the conference's initiative.
Finally, a delegation of coaches — led by Oregon State men's basketball coach Craig Robinson — will conduct clinics for Chinese coaches in August.
Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb's squad will be heading to China from Aug. 17-26.
"I'm up for anything that's going to help our game be cutting edge," Gottlieb said.