Pac-12 takes next steps in globalization initiative

UCLA men's basketball team to compete in China as part of cultural exchange
Top Pac-12 women's volleyball teams to host Chinese professional team

By the Pac-12 Conference

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — Commissioner Larry Scott and the Pac-12 Conference announced on Monday their participation in the inaugural China-USA University Sports Week (Aug. 22-29), a week of sports, cultural exchange, and goodwill activities hosted by the Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC).

As part of China-USA University Sports Week, UCLA men's basketball team will compete against two leading Chinese universities --Tsinghua University in Beijing on Aug. 25 and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai on Aug. 27 - and against the Shanghai Sharks, a professional Chinese team owned by Yao Ming, on Aug. 28.

Later in August, four of the Pac-12 women's volleyball teams will host the Jiangsu Volleyball Team from Nanjing, China, one of the leading professional volleyball teams in China. The new Pac-12 Networks will televise each of the four matches live from the respective campus as it kicks off its comprehensive coverage of women's volleyball, beginning with USC on Aug. 28, UCLA on Aug. 29, Stanford on Sept. 5 and California on Sept. 6.  All broadcasts will begin at 7 p.m. PT.

The basketball delegation to China is part of the Pac-12 Conference's Globalization Initiative, which promotes the Conference and its member institutions through educational collaboration, cultural exchange, and sport. The delegation represents a tremendous opportunity for Pac-12 student athletes: in addition to the three basketball games, the UCLA student-athletes will visit historic landmarks and engage with their Chinese counterparts.

Many Pac-12 universities have embarked on strategies to extend their reach into China, given the international makeup of their student bodies and the international brand recognition of their schools. The Pac-12's Globalization Initiative strives to leverage the popularity and success of the Conference's sports programs to support the overall missions of the universities.

Statement from Commissioner Scott:
As a Conference, we are thrilled to participate in the China-USA University Sports Week and look forward to hosting the Jiangsu Volleyball Team on our campuses. It was three years ago that our two nations began a formal People-to-People exchange, and in that spirit as well as in the great legacy of the Ping Pong diplomacy of the 1970's, we are proud to work with organizations like the FUSC and specific teams in China in these international showcases of sport. Competitions like these have the potential to improve U.S.-China relations and the Pac-12 is playing a leadership role in this mission.

With 11 NCAA titles, famous coaches and successful players, the men's UCLA basketball program is a great ambassador for our Conference in China, and our four top volleyball programs, each projected to begin the 2012 season ranked in the Top-15, should offer great competition to the highly regarded Jiangsu team. But competition is only a part for these exchanges. By using basketball and volleyball as the connection, we can enhance the friendship of university student-athletes and bring both countries' student-athletes together.

On and off the court, our Conference is uniquely positioned to participate in these exchanges as a way to strengthen ties between our cultures. We look forward to sending more men's and women's basketball teams to China, as well as showcasing our student-athletes in other sports and hosting Chinese university teams and coaches in the U.S. in the years to come.

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