- Michelle Smith, Contributor, espnW.com
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LOS ANGELES -- The Pac-12 conference is expected to announce next week new venues for its postseason basketball tournaments.
Commissioner Larry Scott confirmed early in the week he will meet with university presidents, athletics directors and senior women's administrators this week on a plan to move forward.
"No decision has been made about what we are going to do next year," Scott said. "But we've very much narrowed the process and are close to that point."
The Pac-12 tournament played its women's semifinals games on Friday at the Staples Center in front of a crowd that generously could be described as sparse.
At noon Friday, as Stanford took the floor against Arizona State, not many people made their way into downtown Los Angeles to watch Pac-12 women's basketball.
This is the fourth year the women's tournament has been in Los Angeles, co-existing with an also under-watched men's tournament.
For the past two years, the women's tournament began at the Galen Center on the USC campus and moved to Staples for the final two rounds. Galen has been a ghost town.
The move to Staples improved things marginally. Even an appearance at one of the most famous sports venues in the country couldn't bring the fans. So officials believe it's time for a new plan.
It's been reported that the men's tournament will be moving to Las Vegas to the MGM Grand. It's not clear whether the women's tournament will be going along for the ride into the desert.
In fact, indications are that it won't.
The women's tournament could well be headed to a place such as Seattle, which has provided such strong, passionate support for the WNBA's Seattle Storm.
There are tradeoffs to separating the tournaments. From a perspective of resources, it makes sense for the member schools to have all their bands, cheerleaders and administrators in one locale. There are overlapping opportunities for marketing and media coverage.
13dBonnie D. Ford