University of Arizona president Dr. Ann Weaver Hart in an interview with Arizona Daily Star administration on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.

Benjie Sanders/Arizona Daily Sta

During the Wildcat Walk two hours before last week’s Arizona-UTSA game, school president Ann Weaver Hart stood almost unrecognized, slapping hands with UA football players, enjoying the festivities even though it was almost 100 degrees at 5:30 p.m.

How many college presidents do you see showing that type of attitude toward a somewhat insignificant football game, or any football game? She could’ve been with donors in the Sands Club, sipping chardonnay or having a hot dog.

Several previous UA presidents, among them Henry Koffler and Manuel Pacheco, were almost never seen at a sporting event, big or small. And it showed by the school’s lack of commitment toward building a more competitive athletic department.

Hart doesn’t necessarily have to be visible and smiling at Arizona Stadium or McKale Center, and it’s unlikely she will ever be as involved as former presidents Peter Likins and John Schaefer.

But in an uncompromising conference where any lack of support from the administration can put a school into outer darkness, Hart’s enthusiasm suggests she won’t fight an athletic enterprise whose stakes have multiplied to almost $80 million a year.