Pac-10 will rethink conference tournament

The Pac-10 is to decide this month how scheduling will work next season when the conference adds Colorado and Utah, but looking deeper into the future, what's a Pac-12 conference tournament going to look like?

The tournament has been held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles since 2002, and as commissioner Larry Scott told reporters at Oregon State on Saturday, the event site is something the league will evaluate.

"We're committed to be there for the next two tournaments -- 2011 and 2012. I suspect it'll be after next year's tournament where we're going to try some new things. We're going to try to inject some new excitement and marketing around that event. We're really trying to elevate it from where it's at.

"And that'll be about the time we're negotiating our TV deals, and currently the right to decide the location of the basketball championship is with one of our media partners -- FOX. It was licensed to them as part of that TV deal. The first decision we'll take next spring is will we continue to license to one of our media partners the right to place our basketball championship somewhere? Or is that something we're going to take back and control ourselves?"

Scott has been praised by administrators and coaches for his outside-the-box thinking, and it should be interesting how talk of a potential move out of Los Angeles will be received.

Whatever is decided -- going to a neutral host city, rotating sites or keeping the event right where it is -- there is bound to be debate considering how difficult it was for the tournament to gain approval in the first place.

In 2000 when the schools voted for it, the Pac-10 and the Ivy League were the only Division I conferences at the time not to have a tournament. Cal coach Mike Montgomery, then at Stanford, and Arizona's Lute Olson cited class time as one of the reasons for not holding the event.

Though the conference already had a true round-robin schedule in place to decide a regular-season champion, the television money to stage the tournament was too good to pass up.

The Pac-10 has come a long way since then with Scott as commissioner trying to reinvigorate the league's image, and it's again negotiations for a television deal that will give him the leverage to make changes.

What does that mean for the tournament's future? Stay tuned.