We've gone over most of this stuff before in lots of different places on the site, so I sort of wanted to take a few minutes to pull it all together and give you our take on just what today's Pac-12 news means for the Washington State Cougars.
Cal, Stanford Join Northwest Schools In Pac-12 North
This is huge. Somehow, some way, WSU had to be in a division with two California schools to guarantee a visit to California every year -- never mind avoiding the perception of being a part of "that division up there" to California recruits. WSU will now visit the Bay Area every year, ensuring a regular California presence within a day's drive of most everyone in the state.
Side benefit? As long as Paul Wulff is the coach, there will be a huge emphasis on that part of the state. That could change with a different coach -- Mike Price basically lived in Southern California -- but for now, this is a nice bonus.
WSU Will Visit Los Angeles Every Other Year
There was a lot of handwringing over who was going to get to go to Los Angeles how often. In the end, the Northwest schools, including WSU, are going to visit one of the Los Angeles schools every other year -- yup, that's three visits to California every two years, just one fewer than now. That's a negligible loss. If a L.A.-area kid is put over the top on WSU because of visits to home, this shouldn't deter him. Perfect would be every year; this is good enough.
VERDICT: MINOR WIN
WSU Will Share In Revenue Equally With All Other Members Starting In 2012
For years, the Pac-10 has had a terrible revenue-sharing model that rewards schools for appearing on TV. (Well, terrible for everyone not named USC or UCLA.) In theory, it sounds like a meritocracy. But it's far from that -- hence the reason why UCLA, despite being pretty much terrible at football in 2007 and 2008, pulled in the third-most TV revenue of any school in the conference.
Revenue sharing will stay the same in 2011-2012 (with a phase-in payout to Utah and Colorado), but starting with 2012-2013, the conference will move to equal shares (Utah and Colorado will receive less as they are phased in). The only way it's not equal shares? If the new media revenue contract that will start that year doesn't exceed a certain threshold, something it sounds like Larry Scott doesn't even think is going to come into play. Then each school will owe roughly $400,000 back to USC and UCLA.
If the contract is for $150 million annually -- a conservative estimate -- that means WSU walks away with about $25 million every two years in TV revenue. During the last two-year cycle tabulated, WSU walked away with $14 million -- including BCS money and NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Think about what WSU could do with an extra $5 million to $10 million a year in its athletic budget. As we've said before, this money means more to WSU than perhaps any other school in the conference, because the cash will increase its budget by the largest percentage. Money was the most important thing for WSU to secure in this deal, and the Cougars got it.
VERDICT: HUGE, ENORMOUS, STUPENDOUSLY AMAZINGLY AWESOME WIN
Pac-12 Football Championship Game To Be Held At Home Site
I'm not sure exactly when this is going to matter for WSU, but when it does, it's going to be awesome. When you're sitting at the Apple Cup this year, try to picture what a conference championship game would look like on that day -- because that's exactly when it would be. How amazing would it have been in 2002 or 1997 for someone to have to come there to play for the championship? Awesome.
VERDICT: NEAT LITTLE WIN
Honestly, I can't find any downsides to any of this. Money trumps everything, and everything else is just gravy. And there's lots of gravy here. This is a great day for WSU.