Monday morning I posted audio of University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward calling the University of Oregon an “embarrassment” on a Saturday pregame radio show for the Huskies-Ducks football game in Eugene.
(Woodward: Ordered to make personal apologies by UW school president)
Hours later Woodward issued a half-hearted apology in which he said he was sorry if he insulted anyone with his comments. Apparently I wasn’t the only person who found Woodward’s so-called apology almost as appalling as his original, ill-advised remarks.
Bob Condotta of the SEATTLE TIMES reports, “a day after issuing an apology for comments about academics at the University of Oregon, Washington athletic director Scott Woodward was ordered by UW interim president Phyllis Wise to take it a step further.”
Wise and the University of Washington released a letter to the public in which she ordered him to “personally apologize to the president and athletic director at the University of Oregon for the remarks he made before the Oregon-Washington football game Saturday in Eugene.”
More from Condotta:
In her letter Tuesday, Wise also stated that Woodward “exhibited an uncharacteristic lack of judgment” in making the remarks and that “it is inappropriate for a university leader, who understands the importance of collegiality and respect, to criticize publicly another institution’s quality.”
The letter also stated: “In your position as our Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, it is particularly unfortunate for you to be critical of the academic reputation of the University of Oregon, a fellow Pac-10 Conference member and AAU university.”
Wise drives home the real issue regarding Woodward’s remarks: On three different occasions - the radio show, in a followup to Condotta Saturday night and in his quasi apology - Woodward exhibited the same arrogance and disrespect to Oregon that caused Wise to publicly reprimand (and humiliate?) him.
Meanwhile, the Ken Goe of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN reports that Univ. of Oregon officials, including football coach Chip Kelly, chose not to comment on Woodward’s insults or *apology*.
“I’m not going there. I haven’t seen the whole transcript. I can’t comment. I don’t know exactly what he said. I don’t know exactly what the context was in which it was said. I’ll let our administration and their administration handle that one.”
Not only did Woodward insult the Univ. of Oregon, he effectively went after Nike founder Phil Knight, perhaps the single most powerful man in all of organized sports. College, pro, peewee, you name it.
For all the criticism that the U.S. university system gets for being insulated from reality these days, Wise’s swift and decisive action in this situation deserves high marks.