AD Gives Lame “Apology” For Oregon Comments

Ken Goe of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN reports, “Washington athletic Scott Woodward issued a statement Monday in which he apologized for and clarified remarks he made in a radio interview prior to the Oregon-Washington football game on Saturday.”

Scott Woodward Washington Athletic Director

As I reported early Monday, Woodward said, among other uncomplimentary things, the Univ. of Oregon was an “embarrassment” after he was asked by KJR-AM host Dave Mahler about Oregon’s facilities and athletic success.

Woodward’s statement:

“I apologize if my comments were found as critical or insulting to fans and alumni of the University of Oregon, and I hope to offer some  clarity about my true feelings on the situation. I have a great respect for the University of Oregon both as an institution and an athletic program.

“As a life-long advocate for public funding in higher education, I have seen firsthand the effects of public funding on many institutions, including the University of Washington. My remarks were intended as a commentary on the powerful impact that a state can have on an institution’s academic standing.

“The University of Oregon is a great example of the struggles which can accompany a university when state funding decreases, but UO is certainly not the only institution suffering.”

After reading Woodward’s hedged “apology” let me also provide a clarification.

The only thing Woodward had to apologize for was the insulting and patronizing way he described the Univ. of Oregon. The substance of his remarks Saturday - as it relates to an apology - is completely irrelevant.

Here’s key phrase in Woodward’s “apology”:if my comments were found as critical or insulting.”

To express genuine regret, Woodward’s apology should’ve read: “I apologize for the insulting manner in which I described the Univ. of Oregon Saturday.”

There’s no gray area to how Woodward described the Univ. of Oregon. His method of criticism of Oregon, whether valid in its substance or not, was asinine. Clearly, from his quasi apology, that fact is completely lost on him.

For Washington’s sake, let’s hope he figures that out before he meets with Nike about a re-up.

Now for an interesting question: Why did it take until midday Monday for Woodward to apologize?

Bob Condotta, to his credit, did note Woodward’s radio remarks in the SEATTLE TIMES Saturday night. In fact, Woodward “elaborated” on his comments to Condotta thusly:

“It’s embarrassing at the level that the state supports this once-great academic university, because it’s gone way down in academic standing because of the enormous lack of support over the decades.

“What they have done here athletically is nothing short of a miracle. It is fabulous what they have invested and how they have done it. But it is a shame that the whole enterprise isn’t benefiting (from the athletic success), and that’s one thing that is very much a sense of pride at the University of Washington — that our whole enterprise is excellent in all we do. But that’s no excuse for us not getting it right in football.”

Actually, what’s a shame is that Woodward had the gall to claim to Condotta that, “it is a shame that the whole enterprise isn’t benefiting.”

In other words, Phil Knight has done all he can to build up the athletic might of Oregon while ignoring academics. (What else could Woodward have been referring to in the context of Oregon athletics?)

When it was up to the state of Oregon, the Ducks had below-average athletic facilities. Now Oregon has the best in the nation - is that the school’s fault? Woodward couldn’t possibly have been referring to the state of Oregon misappropriating funds to athletics over academics - what else could he have meant?

The Univ. of Oregon itself is at the mercy of the state as to its public funding, so what this really all comes down to is Woodward insulting an entire school - and Knight - because it happens to have an incredibly generous benefactor.

A benefactor in Phil Knight who, in addition to contributing to athletics, donated $27 million to the renovation of Oregon’s main library.

Keep in mind that Woodward’s original comments were made early Saturday and his subsequent misrepresentation of the facts to the Seattle Times was posted Saturday evening.

That was followed by no apology … until I posted the actual audio of his original comments on Monday morning. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that Woodward would’ve done nothing had I not posted that audio.

If you were wondering why Washington athletics has fallen off a cliff, wonder no more.