Canzano: Mailbag begins with letter from Pac-12 president
Your questions... my answers.
The first letter in this week’s mailbag comes from a reader in Seattle who read my Friday column about the failure of leadership in the Pac-12 Conference.
The presidents and chancellors flopped.
The commissioner wilted.
University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce wrote to tell me she agrees with much of what I wrote. She thinks I am “100 percent correct” about who bears the responsibility for the break-up of the Pac-12. And that there was nothing pretty about the way things ended.
Last month, I reported that ESPN made an offer of $30 million per Pac-12 school in October of 2022. I’m told the conference presidents instructed the commissioner to make a counteroffer at $50 million per school, essentially nuking the negotiation.
Cauce initially refuted that report, telling Jon Wilner of The San Jose Mercury News in a piece published on Wednesday: “I don’t believe that ever happened.” But in her letter to me on Friday, she walked it back and clarified.
“I do not believe many of us expected that we would obtain a basic media-rights offer of $50 million, regardless of what counteroffer was proposed,” Cauce wrote.
Many of them didn’t expect to get $50 million per school from ESPN, she says.
They instructed the commissioner to ask for it anyway, I’m told.
Cauce owned her part in the Pac-12 breakup. I’ll give her that. The UW president also said the second guessing is an endless circle. Whether the Pac-12 should have or shouldn’t have taken ESPN’s first offer “— or any other decisions along the way that can be second-guessed now — is not directly relevant to what transpired in the days before eight teams exited the Pac-12,” she wrote.
“That offer was no longer on the table.”
Read Cauce’s letter for yourself:
I’m glad she wrote to me. I liked hearing from her. At the very least, Cauce’s letter gives us a glimpse into the psyche of an academic. I’d love to talk more with her and ask some follow-up questions. I think it would help the public gain further understanding. Maybe it would help her, too.
I’m thankful to all who have a paid subscription to this publication. I’m also grateful to readers who give a gift subscription to a friend, neighbor or family member. Your support doesn’t just help feed my family, it allows me to travel and chase the stories that need to be told.
Who else wrote me this week?
Onto the mailbag…