Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When I join the CAF, where does my money go?
A. Unrestricted gifts to the Cougar Athletic Fund (CAF) will be directed to the annual student-athlete scholarship bill until that total is covered by private philanthropic support. In the last fiscal year, the scholarship bill to pay for nearly 450 student-athletes to attend WSU was $9.4 million. Those costs were defrayed by $5.7 million in membership gifts, plus CAF Requirements on season tickets and contributions through CAF fundraisers.
Q. Why are annual gifts such a big priority for the Athletic Department?
A. Nearly every Pac-12 school is currently covering their annual scholarship costs through annual fund memberships. Those schools are not forced to pull money from Pac-12 Conference revenues, television revenues and other operating budgets to cover this basic annual bill. That allows those schools to fully invest in the facilities needed to recruit and retain championship-caliber student-athletes. Until WSU closes the existing gap between the annual scholarship bill and CAF memberships, we will not fully realize the capability to invest into worldclass facilities at the level of our Pac-12 peers. Over time, that deficit widens the facilities gap between us and our peers exponentially.
Q. What's my best option if I want to support a specific sports program?
A. The CAF will always honor the member's intent when accepting a gift, however not all gifts are treated equally. Gifts that are restricted to a specific sports program assist ONLY that program. Unrestricted membership gifts, on the other hand, benefit the student-athletes across all 17 WSU programs, by supporting the cost of ALL of our student-athletes attending WSU. This is the highest priority of the Athletic Department, and therefore those unrestricted gifts are rewarded with the most weight in the CAF Rankings. If, despite the difference in priority, you still wish to make a restricted gift to a specific program, you can always make that designation on your contribution to the CAF.
Q. Where does WSU's level of CAF Membership compare to the rest of the Pac-12 Conference?
A. WSU ranked 10th in the Pac-12 for annual fund memberships and last in terms of revenues as recently as two years ago. At the end of the 2012 fiscal year (June 30, 2012), the CAF had added nearly 2,000 new members and jumped from $2.6 million in membership gifts to $4.7 million. Even with these extremely impressive gains, the CAF ranks in the bottom half of the league today. In terms of the standings, it is hard to justify expectations that our teams finish in the top half of the league when the support for these student-athletes does not follow suit.
Q. What is the secret to catching up with the rest of the Pac-12?
A. Every WSU Fan who wants to truly support our student-athletes should join the Cougar Athletic Fund team. This is the most important way that Cougs can "Wave the Flag" for WSU Athletics, whether they live in Pullman, in-state, in the U.S. or otherwise. All Cougs are needed to build the "team behind our teams", giving our student-athletes a chance at a level playing field to compete in the Pac-12 Conference. Additionally, those who are our most capable supporters need to match our competition when it comes to their average annual gift. The top 250 donors at other Pac-12 schools are contributing significantly more on an annual basis than our top 250 members, and our average annual gift to the CAF across all members lags nearly $1,000/donor behind the league average.
Q. What payment options/plans are available to fulfill my annual CAF pledge?
A. CAF memberships can be paid in one lump sum, quarterly or monthly. This can be programmed online at wsucougars.com or through direct interaction with a CAF representative. When considering a recurring payment plan for your annual Cougar Athletic Fund membership, please note that your CAF Season Ticket Requirement must be paid by June 30 for your football season tickets to be considered renewed and secure. Also, your Football and Basketball season parking passes will be determined by your CAF membership level as of June 30.
Q. Do gifts to the CAF cover my CAF Requirement on season tickets?
A. Yes. Any unrestricted gift you make to the CAF will be applied forward towards the CAF Requirement on your Football season tickets during that same fiscal year. Additionally, any CAF membership gifts that are applied to your Football season tickets can also be applied to your Men's Basketball season tickets. This allows you to make your CAF membership gift when renewal notices are sent in November, realizing the tax benefits in that calendar year, and having the gift apply to your Football season ticket renewal in February/March.
Q. How can I find out my CAF Ranking?
Important Note: as of the start of the 2014 Fiscal year (July 1, 2013), only current year CAF members will have a CAF ranking. If you are not a $50 CAF member by the first CAF ranking of that year (November 15, 2013), you will not technically have a CAF ranking. As soon as your membership gift is made, all other criteria, including previous year's giving, will be factored back into your CAF ranking at the next scheduled re-ranking of the CAF Membership.