Washington athletic director Scott Woodward apologizes for comments about Oregon
Washington AD Scott Woodward said his remarks Saturday about the University of Oregon suffering as an institution were intended as a commentary about the lack of state funding Oregon receives.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Washington athletic director Scott Woodward issued an apology Monday for comments he made about the University of Oregon before the Huskies' football loss to the Ducks in Eugene.
Woodward, who referred Saturday to Oregon as a "once-great academic university" that has declined in academic standing, said Monday that his comments had been intended as commentary on the decrease in state funding.
Monday, Woodward released a statement saying: "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 lifelong 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."
Woodward said on his regular segment on the UW pregame show Saturday that "it's an embarrassment what their academic institution is, and what's happened to 'em as far as their state funding has gone. In my mind it's a wonderful athletic facility, but they've watched it at the expense of the university go really down.
"But the athletic facility is impressive. The fans at Oregon should get down on their hands and knees at night to Phil Knight and pray to him because this is an incredible facility he's built. Any of the rankings you look at, you watch how far they've (Oregon) dropped because of their state funding.
"And it's a message for us, too. Our state needs to get its act together because we can't continue to progress without investment in our institution. But we're doing extremely well and we're very proud of that fact. We're a part of the whole University of Washington. That's who we are."
He elaborated on those comments to The Seattle Times, saying, "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."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org