A Message from Director of Athletics Jim Sterk
During the past few months, I have written and publicly commented about the importance your financial assistance is to the WSU Athletic Department, be it to the student-athlete scholarship fund, ticket purchases, the stadium renovation, the basketball and baseball excellence funds, or the countless other avenues you have directed this support.
The purpose of this message, and this special issue of Butch's Beat, is to stress the point that your support is needed now more than ever. In this issue you will find information that explains why we need your support and how you can help.
The economic downturn has left Washington State University facing unprecedented financial challenges, challenges the Athletic Department is not immune from. This is a critical time for the department with the budget cuts coupled with the additional scholarship costs as a result of the 14 percent tuition increase each of the next two years.
Our annual operating budget is currently $14 million below the next lowest member in the Pac-10 and our Athletics scholarship donations do not fully cover our scholarship costs resulting in a shortfall. The 14 percent tuition increase each of the next two years will only widen this gap, which must be funded from other departmental revenue sources. This impacts the overall resources available for other Athletic priorities.
It is because of these economic challenges that I considered the move of the Apple Cup. When I was presented with the proposal of moving the Apple Cup to Qwest Field for a six-year period beginning in 2010, my first reaction was much like yours: This will never happen.
I have a passion for Cougar Athletics, and during the days after the news of the Apple Cup proposal broke, I witnessed how passionate our fan base is about the football program, and in this case, they were not shy in expressing their opinions on this topic. Much of the comments were similar to my initial reaction, and I couldn't help but think that if I had $100 annually from every WSU alumni who cares about the future of WSU Athletics, it would go a long ways toward meeting the financial challenges we face in the department.
Please know that moving the Apple Cup was something I would never do under normal circumstances, but these are not normal circumstances. With the revenue this proposal could bring to the department, it would have been fiscally irresponsible of me not to consider it.
I appreciated all comments I received, whether for or against the proposal. For those who sent me comments and in the past demonstrated their support through ticket purchases, donations, or both, I want to express my gratitude of your investment in Cougar Athletics. For those who have not supported us in the past and sent me comments, I have a very simple message: You have shown your passion in your words; now I ask that you demonstrate your passion in your actions, and that is either by purchasing season tickets, making a donation, or both.
Your annual donation to the Athletic Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Athletic Department, supports student-athlete scholarships. Members of the Athletic Foundation are friends, alumni, and advocates of WSU who recognize the value of intercollegiate athletics with the vision of this great University. Our Athletic Foundation membership total at the end of the 2008 fiscal year was 6,185. Our goal is to double that number by the end of FY10.
For a minimum $100 annual donation, you can become a member of the Athletic Foundation. You may make a donation by clicking HERE or calling the Athletic Foundation office at 1-877-IMA-COUG.
The second way to assist is through ticket purchases and, specifically, season tickets. Season tickets are available in football, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, and baseball. Not only do ticket sales support athletics because they generate revenue for the department, it is a very visible way for our student-athletes to feel your support during competition.
Football season tickets are on sale now in all pricing categories and start as low as $125. If you are not a season ticket holder I ask that you consider becoming one. You may do so by clicking HERE or by contacting the WSU Ticket Office at 1-800-GO-COUGS or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me reiterate, if you financially support WSU Athletics on an annual basis, thank you. I am grateful for it. Your generosity has a significant positive impact on our student-athletes, the Athletic Department, and the University. I have two requests for you: 1) that you to consider increasing your annual contribution to Cougar Athletics and 2) solicit your Cougar friends and family who are not currently making annual gifts to the Athletic Foundation to assist us in reaching our membership goal.
If you are not currently a supporter, I ask that you consider becoming one, whether it is through an annual donation, season ticket purchase, or both. Please know that your support directly benefits our student-athletes, the Athletic Department, and the entire University.
These are tough times, but when faced with adversity, Cougars are at their best. By demonstrating four of our five department core values: passion, excellence, integrity, and pride, we will build on what has already been achieved. Furthermore, we will make Cougar Athletics even greater, always keeping in mind our fifth core value: the well-being of our student-athletes, which is at the forefront of everything we do.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and for your connection to this great institution.
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS