Pac-12, FUSC Celebrate Fifth Year of Partnership at Third Annual Summit
SHANGHAI – On the eve of the 2017 Pac-12 China Game, representatives from the Conference and Federation University Sports China (FUSC) gathered at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Friday for the third annual China-U.S. University Sports & Education Summit.
This year’s Summit, which brought together university and league leadership, education specialists and sports business leaders to share ideas of how sports can foster exchange between the two countries, helped mark the fifth year of the landmark collaboration between the Pac-12 and FUSC. The Pac-12 remains the only U.S. sports league – collegiate or professional – to host a regular-season contest in China.
As part of the Pac-12 Global initiative, this year’s Pac-12 China Game will mark the 10th league-sponsored team trip to the country since 2013. The initiative also includes educational residency for Chinese coaches with Conference institutions as well as goodwill tours to the U.S. for Chinese university athletic teams.
Film actor and producer Jet Li provided opening remarks, referencing his visit to the U.S. as a member of the Chinese National Team as a young martial artist and his “experience that sports can transcend national boundaries.”
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott connected the recent diplomatic Chinese state visit between Presidents Trump and Xi to the goals of the Conference’s visit. “That is what the Pac-12 China Game and today’s Summit are all about – our people and leaders are here to learn from one another, to experience and meet new cultures and to reinforce friendships and goodwill between our two countries.”
Friday’s three-panel Summit was highlighted by the participation of China Basketball Association President Yao Ming, Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and Pac-12 men’s basketball legend and broadcaster Bill Walton.
As part of his panel on how participation in athletics develops life skills, leadership and business values, Tsai recounted a lesson in dealing with defeat learned from friend and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
“I feel bad that I lost a game, but I don’t want to show it because if I’m in low spirits, I’m going to affect my teammates. I drag them down, I drag my family down, I don’t want to do that. I’m going to look forward to the next game,” the former Yale student-athlete recalled of his encounter with Wilson, linking the moment to his experience growing one of the world’s most successful businesses.
Chancellor Block and President Peterson discussed focusing on the student in the student-athlete experience. While Peterson cited his role in improving student-athlete time demands as a member of the NCAA Board of Governors, Block referenced the long-ago established legacy of legendary coach and leader John Wooden. “At UCLA there’s a tradition, it goes back to Coach Wooden, that you can be both involved in athletics and also be sage,” said Chancellor Block.
Fellow Bruins legend Walton, whose four sons all participated in NCAA Division I athletics, spoke to his experience of raising star student-athletes.
Walton summed the final panel of the Summit best: “Let’s play, let’s go, let’s learn, let’s think, and at the end of the day we’ll celebrate the greatness of intercollegiate athletics and this phenomenal cultural, educational, academic, historic and human relationship between two great cultures.”
The Summit concluded with Commissioner Scott and Xue Yanqing, Senior Vice President and Secretary General of FUSC, shaking hands on stage to signify the extension of the entities’ partnership from 2018 through 2020.
More information on the Pac-12 China Game can be found at pac-12.com/chinagame.
About Pac-12 Global
Founded in 2011, Pac-12 Global is an unprecedented effort to harness the passion and spirit of collegiate athletics to showcase the Pac-12 Conference and its member institutions around the world, while giving student-athletes access to transformative life experiences and impactful cultural exchanges. The initiative uses athletics to support the ambitious international strategies that many Pac-12 universities have embarked upon to extend their reach around the world. For more information on the initiative and its history, go to www.pac-12.com/global.