University of Washington President Cauce discusses Pac-12 exit

The process that took the Pac-12, Oregon and Washington on a path toward where both programs exited the conference for the Big Ten involved a lot of emotions. 

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce said Saturday that discussions leading up to the Pac-12’s prospective media rights agreement and conference expansion took many through a range of feelings. 

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff proposed to conference presidents and chancellors a media agreement primarily partnering with Apple TV in a streaming-based deal. 

Cauce said “there were moments when I thought it was going in one direction and then in another” and she described the process as both “heart wrenching” and “backwards and forwards.” 

“At the end, we looked at the deal that we had — the only deal that we had — and it was clear that it was not giving us what we thought,” Cauce said. “It was not the deal that we had been discussing just days before and it was not going to secure.” 

In fact, Cauce described the deal as having a lackluster sticking point. 

“When you have a deal where people are saying that one of the best aspects of it is that you can get out of it in two years, that tells you a lot,” Cauce said. “And we really needed to have the stability for our players, for our coaches, for our teams.” 

Washington will join Oregon in becoming members of the Big Ten starting in 2024. But leaving the Conference of Champions and the 100-plus-year history behind it was difficult, Cauce said. 

Cauce expressed her confidence in the Big Ten and the fact that the Huskies athletic program will soon join a conference and forge new connections with new counterparts. 

“There is no question that the Big Ten is a leading conference and that we can play together with our colleagues there, a really important role in shaping a future,” Cauce said.