A conversation with Washington president Ana Mari Cauce
On the demise of the Pac-12, the tenure of Larry Scott, looking forward to the future and hiring a new AD.
SEATTLE — A little more than two hours before the Washington Huskies began their football season, I sat down with UW president Ana Mari Cauce for a wide-ranging conversation about the school’s future in the Big Ten, the demise of the Pac-12, relations with Washington State, the future of college athletics and plenty more.
Questions and responses have been lightly edited for grammar, clarity and length.
How would you describe the reaction to the Big Ten move from the university community?
I think there’s certainly some sadness. There’s no question we are very proud to have been part of Pac-12 history. Change is always difficult. But I’ll be honest — the number of emails and etc. that I’ve gotten saying, ‘congratulations, thank you so much for doing this’ … when I parked downstairs (at Saturday’s game), a couple of folks who are some of our biggest, biggest supporters said, ‘thank you so much.’ It’s been generally very positive.
How hard is it to balance competing opinions on that, when you’re trying to serve the whole constituency?
The thing is, I don’t think that embracing change and doing something new means that you have to dishonor the past. Change is part of life. I’ve been at this university since 1986. I understand tradition. I understand loyalty. But I also understand the need for change. We did not leave the Pac-12 that people are grieving. We left the Pac-12 that was, at best, on life support. And it was fairly toxic, because there was no trust. There was constant gossip and leaks. That last year was really tough on everybody.