Hello Cougar Fans and welcome to the A.D. Forum. Washington State University Director of Athletics Jim Sterk will post periodic entries on this page about topics regarding WSU Athletics.
April 28, 2009
When I was presented with the proposal of moving the Apple Cup to Qwest Field, I referred to our core values to guide me on how best I should proceed. These five core values serve as the basis in everything that I and the staff of the Washington State University Athletic Department represent: Student-Athlete Well Being, Excellence, Integrity, Pride and Passion.
In this particular instance, there was one value that was presented to me time and again. I have been athletic director of this wonderful institution since 2000 and, during my tenure, I have developed a great passion for Cougar Athletics. It is this passion that dictated my first reaction to the proposal, which is that this will never happen.
And just as I have a passion for Cougar Athletics, I witnessed how passionate the football program is to our fan base, 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 for everyone who sent me a message stating their wishes of keeping the Apple Cup in Pullman, it would go a long ways toward alleviating the financial problems we face in the department.
These problems left me with a stark reality that I could not ignore. The challenges we face in the department are not unique as our annual budget is currently $14 million below the next lowest member in the Pac-10; however, the economic downturn has left Washington State University facing unprecedented financial challenges, and the Athletic Department is not immune from them.
The likely 14 percent tuition increase will add over $1 million to our scholarship bill. Coupled with the sizeable budget cuts and likely layoffs the department will face, there are tough challenges that lie ahead in the coming years. So when I was presented with the revenue possibilities this proposal could bring to the department, it would have been fiscally irresponsible of me not to consider it.
I appreciate all comments I received, whether for or against the proposal, during the last two weeks. 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 and ask that you consider increasing your support.
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.
Our Athletic Foundation membership total at the end of the 2008 fiscal year was 6,185. The goal is to double that number within a year's time. In order to meet our challenges we must have your support. A minimum $100 donation to Cougar Athletics makes you a member of the Athletic Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Athletic Department. You may contribute online by clicking HERE or by calling the Athletic Foundation office at 1-877-IMA-COUG.
These are tough times, but when faced with adversity, Cougars are at their best. By demonstrating our passion, excellence, integrity, and pride, we will build on what has already been achieved and make Cougar Athletics even greater, always keeping the well-being of our student-athletes at the forefront of everything we do.