I've seen a lot of really, really bad ideas in my day. Ginger Spice trying to go solo. Signing Chone Figgins to a fat contract. Will Smith and Jaden Smith starring in a movie together.
But this one may top them all: WSU giving up their home game against Gonzaga next year in favor of playing at Spokane Arena. I wish I was joking. Instead of playing Gonzaga in Pullman next season as they are scheduled to do, WSU has agreed to play them in Spokane at a "neutral" site because ... I have no idea. We're left to surmise the possible reasons why as the move to Spokane Arena garners just half of a sentence in the Gonzaga student paper. Honestly, I can't think of a good reason as to why this is being done.
So why don't we run down the list of the possible reasons and tell you why each one is mind-bogglingly stupid?
Gonzaga is offering WSU a little cash to move the game to Spokane: If Bill Moos needs to take this money because he overpaid his new men's basketball coach while he still owes his old one, maybe he shouldn't have put himself in the position to need the cash this desperately. If Gonzaga is offering any dough, it's a paltry sum compared to what you could get scheduling a body-bag football game in 2015 for a football team that will likely be much better than their 2014 iteration. If there's money on the table, there's a bigger issue though. If we're honest with ourselves, there are some teams who can push WSU around into doing things like this. Gonzaga isn't one of them. Sure, Gonzaga's basketball team is leaps and bounds better than WSU's but this would be like Cal getting yanked around by Saint Mary's.
The athletic department believes they can make more money in this scenario: Don't care, keep the game in Pullman. Next.
Gonzaga is holding the game hostage and won't play WSU unless it's in Spokane: Here's where we arrive at what I view as the most likely explanation. Gonzaga views their position as a pretty strong one in this series considering their relative success of the past few years. So they offer WSU an ultimatum: play the game in Spokane or don't play it at all. I say this as a guy who values what few basketball traditions WSU has: don't play it. You don't need them. If there's anything we've learned over the years, it's that Gonzaga wants to have it their way or not at all. Ask Lorenzo Romar and the UW athletic department about that (though they aren't completely innocent in that little tiff). WSU doesn't have to play Gonzaga every year. Is it nice to have a great, regional rivalry like that? Absolutely. One of my fondest memories is storming the floor after the upset against the Zags in 2006. But is it really worth how weak it makes you look as an athletic department and university to do this?
Really then, this is the best way to sum this up:
"The Apple Cup isn't for sale .... but everything else is!" - Bill Moos— Jeff Nusser (@NussCoug) April 17, 2014
"Call us now to move your conference away game in Pullman to your stadium and receive 20% off the regular price! But wait, if you buy your away game back, we'll throw in a basketball game FREE!"
EDIT Nusser: So, now we have our answer.
Can confirm #WSU will play Gonzaga at Spokane Arena next year as part of a 3-year contract of at Gonzaga, at Spokane Arena then at WSU.— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) April 17, 2014
When WSU and Gonzaga re-upped their contract before last season, it was modified to a three-game series with last season's game at Gonzaga being the first. Next year's neutral site* game at Spokane Arena will be the second, and the 2015 game in Pullman will be the third.
It's probably safe to assume that WSU and Gonzaga have agreed to split the revenues from the neutral site* game.
*LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL THE GAME IS IN SPOKANE LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
EDIT Nusser, 4/19: Apparently, some people are still finding this story days later. It has since been confirmed that this actually is a home game for Gonzaga. It's part of a two-for-one where Gonzaga gets two home games -- one at McCarthey, the other at Spokane Arena, where Gonzaga will control the revenues -- before a return trip to WSU in 2015.