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Washington State athletics spending lags behind competitors

The Cougs are far from winning the Pac-12 arms race

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NCAA Football: Montana State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Having the smallest athletic budget in the Pac-12 has not confined Washington State to the bottom of the standings, but WSU’s ability to pursue further facility upgrades is limited. An article in USA Today examined the financial state of WSU athletics and how an increase in spending preceded the football team’s recent success.

While the budget of the athletic department is one of the smallest among Power 5 schools, the situation used to be much more dire. With the uptick in wins in 2015 and 2016 donations to the annual scholarship have doubled since 2011, and a record 14,400 season tickets were sold for 2017. Investments that helped to spur this prosperity, however, are limiting further expansion.

Author Brent Schrotenboer detailed how the $61 million premium seating renovation to Martin Stadium and the $65 million football operations building have saddled the athletic department with debt. Due in part to these investments, athletics owes the university $51.5 million after running deficits for the last five years.

Quotes from Bill Moos all but rule out borrowing more from the university until athletics can find new ways to bring in revenue itself. But that will likely draw out the time it takes to get started on the next project.

WSU’s current indoor practice facility, the bubble, is outdated and was criticized by Moos as being unsafe. While only being 15 years old, technology has long since passed it by, and it won’t be the selling point for any recruits. A new proposed facility, that would be used by a variety of sports, would cost $28 million. But where is that money going to come from? Multiple suggestions were brought up in the article, from selling the naming rights to Martin Stadium, to raising student fees to solve this issue.

How do you think WSU should fix their revenue problem, and how do you think they should spend the money?



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