Waking up with MIAA commissioner Mike Racy

Mike Racy speaks to the audience about his job as MIAA commissioner Nov. 18, 2021. Wake Up With Washburn was created through a partnership with the School of Business and the Alumni Association.

The commissioner of MIAA athletics visited Washburn on the morning of Nov. 18 for the second lecture of the Wake Up With Washburn series. This time it brought Mike Racy, a 1987 Washburn graduate back to campus.

The series is possible through a partnership with The Alumni Association and The School of Business. Before the event began, breakfast was served to all of the faculty, staff and alumni who attended.

Racy spoke about his career, starting with his time at Washburn, and what led him down the path of becoming a commissioner and what the school means to him, even if his position doesn’t always let him say it.

“It’s a great honor, when you’re in school and you see people that come and talk, no way when I was a student here, I thought I would be one of those people,” Racy said. “It’s a great honor and it’s a special university and it’s nice to see everyone.”

He also spoke about the progress the conference has made since he was named to the position in 2016, as well as what he believes makes the conference special.

“The thing that keeps me going is just remembering how terrible it was during the pandemic when we weren’t playing sports, and so it taught me to not take that for granted and to try and enjoy seeing the success of our student athletes out on the field,” Racy said.

Racy spoke about the changes taking place in the college athletics landscape and what caused them. The main one being the implementation of the new Name Image Likeness policy that allows student-athletes to make money using their likeness. Racy elaborated on the impact it has on the division two level and predicted how it might change college athletics in the future.

Racy took questions from the crowd about the new changes and the state of MIAA athletics. He concluded by thanking Washburn for allowing him to speak, and re-sharing what the university and people mean to him.

After the event Racy stayed to speak to some of the people he works with as commissioner, as well as those he was reconnecting with.

“This is kind of a unique organization and a unique program. We have been doing this for many many years and we have a good following,” said President Farley. “It brings alumni together, they learn something while they are here, today it was about sports, you saw how many questions were asked … We think it is a great program and we want to support it.”

The speaker for the next event in the series is to be determined, but will take place on Feb. 3, in association with Washburn’s Day of Giving.

Edited by Simran Shrestha and Ellie Walker