Infamous UCLA visit to China was partly a business trip to benefit Pac-12

The arrests of three freshmen on the UCLA basketball team for shoplifting in China are a stark reminder the Pac-12 is indeed using student-athletes to do business in a country with laws very different from ours.

Inside sports business

The arrests of three freshmen on the UCLA basketball team for shoplifting in China are a stark reminder the Pac-12 is indeed using student-athletes to do business in a country with laws very different from ours.

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill spent several days confined to their team hotel before being allowed to leave the country last week after intervention by President Donald Trump. Various reports indicated they could have spent three to 10 years in prison if convicted, which raises questions about their awareness level beforehand of the country they were visiting and the seriousness with which even minor criminal offenses are taken.

On Friday, LaVar Ball, LiAngelo’s father and a former Washington State player, was asked by ESPN about Trump’s involvement and said, “Who?” Ball added, “Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Trump responded Sunday with this tweet: “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

Sure, it’s ultimately a player’s responsibility not to shoplift — something all three are paying for with indefinite suspensions and undoubtedly a pretty good scare. But it’s also the Pac-12 that put them in China for purposes related as much to business as any cultural exchange designed to broaden minds.

Andrew Walker, head of Pac-12 communications, wrote in an email that the conference provides each team traveling abroad “briefing materials on the schedule as well as country and cultural information,” but the rest is up to schools.

The Pac-12 Global initiative began in 2013, and since 2015 it has seen multiple teams travel to China to play regular-season games. Washington played the first of those games, opening its 2015-2016 schedule with a victory over Texas in Shanghai.

This year’s game saw UCLA beat Georgia Tech on Nov. 10, minus the shoplifters.

But these trips aren’t all about players sampling local cuisine, taking in sights and — apparently — visiting Louis Vuitton…

Read the full article from the Source…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *