Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 10/23/14

Since taking office as Pac-12 commissioner in the summer of 2010, Larry Scott has always been credited for thinking “big.” He was the originator of the idea of “super-conferences,” and nearly implemented them in both the summer of 2010 and fall of 2011. Even when that didn’t work out (once by his own choosing, once by the choosing of Texas and other Big XII schools) he did expand the conference from 10 to 12, saw the conference host its first conference championship game a few weeks ago, and helped the conference’s member schools the most lucrative television contract in college sports history. Not bad for a first full 24 months on the job.

Again, Scott is a visionary, and because of it, I’ve called him an “evil genius set to take over the world" on more than one occassion.

Well, whether he’s evil or not is subject to your opinion. But with news that broke late Sunday night, there is now proof of the second part: Larry Scott is indeed trying to take over the world.

As we speak, Scott is in Beijing, on a fact finding mission, with one goal: To bring the Pac-12 and Pac-12 football in specific to China.

From the New York Times:

Scott plans to spend four days there meeting with various officials to put together a “road map” for a way to expand the presence of Pac-12 universities in China. While Scott has his eyes on Central America, South America, India and other Asian nations in the long term, his immediate priority is establishing the Pac-12 in China.

Scott said in a telephone interview Saturday that he expected the Pac-12 to play games in China in the next three to five years, and that he hoped the league’s cable network would someday be available there.

There are still a lot of logistics to get figured out, and even Scott admits that any action likely won’t be made for another three to five years. And even when it is, it seems as though other sports like basketball and volleyball may take immediate precedent over football.

Still, this is also just the latest and (quite literally) greatest example of Scott thinking much bigger than any of his contemporaries. This isn’t so much the Pac-12 trying to suck the value out of every last American dollar (like so much of the rest of college football try and do), but instead expand to a newer, much broader audience. And really, what could be more broad than the billion citizens of China?

According to other previously published reports, this isn’t the first time that Scott has broached the idea of bringing the Pac-12 brand to China, although this is the first time he’s talked about it in the sense of football. Previously Scott has mentioned an interest in bringing volleyball and basketball- two sports with much more history and available infrastructure- to the country, either through exhibition, and maybe eventually even regular season play.

But football? Well, according to the Times (and really, according to common sense), there’s no real precedent for that, making it harder to nail down an exact time frame on when it may arrive on the shores of China. Stanford and Notre Dame have discussed playing their annual game there in 2013, and Oregon (with their strong support from Nike) has shown an interest in staging a game there as well. Those ideas of course, are still in their infancy.

Still, they are being discussed, and expansion to the Far East could happen soon. And just as important as it might be just as important for not only the athletic department's of the Pac-12, but the schools themselves.

Besides the idea of bringing the Pac-12’s athletic “brand” to the country, and besides Scott’s pipe dream of one day seeing the kids of Beijing walking the streets in UCLA and Oregon t-shirts, it is also about making his conferences schools more appealing in general to students looking to come to the United States to get an education. As the Times noted, many of the Pac-12’s member schools already have large bases of foreign students, bases which could help attract better students with exposure of their athletics programs. After all, if you didn’t know much about American colleges, but have seen USC and Stanford play football in your backyard, wouldn't that immediately make you more interested in those schools than others you've never heard of? Beyond that, Scott has also mentioned an interest in someday making the Pac-12 Network available to citizens of China as well, something that like football is still an idea the beginning stages of planning.

That’s all a long ways away, but something that I personally wouldn’t put past Scott. Simply put, the guy thinks big, and has proven that when he puts his mind to something, it gets done. It happened with the Pac-12’s expansion, their first ever title game, and a television contract which has left its member schools flush with cash.

And now it could happen with further expansion West…to the Far East ironically. Larry Scott is thinking big…really big.

Apparently when I said that he was taking over the world, I wasn’t too far off.

For all his articles, opinions and insights on college football, be sure to follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.



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