June 20, 2008
Our annual spring golf tour has concluded, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who came out to participate in the events. Your attendance helps support our student-athlete scholarship fund, and it is greatly appreciated.
While I was at these events, I received a few comments about the football program regarding the recent APR (Academic Progress Rate) report and the off-the-field incidents that have been in the news recently.
I thank all of you for your comments and understand the concerns expressed to me. I, along with the entire coaching staff and athletic administration, evaluate each and every incident involving our football program in a very serious manner. Although the attitude and behavior of our football student-athletes is not in a crisis situation, there is room for improvement. I believe Paul Wulff has put in place a process to positively impact the culture surrounding Cougar football and that change is already noticeable.
I have written and publicly commented in the past about the importance your financial assistance is to the department, be it to the stadium renovation, the basketball excellence fund, the student-athlete scholarship fund or the countless other avenues you have directed this support.
The Athletic Department has established and maintained a set of core values -- excellence, integrity, passion, pride, and student-athlete well-being -- as the standard to achieve in everything that we do.
As a supporter and fan of Cougar athletics, you should expect all of us who represent Washington State University athletics, whether it be staff, coaches or student-athletes, to conduct ourselves in a manner that embodies these values and be an ambassador of not only WSU Athletics but the entire University.
While a student-athlete must be responsible for his or her actions, it is the job of all our coaches and staff to assist our student-athletes in striving to achieve their best. Anything less is unacceptable.
During the past season, our student-athletes did achieve both on and off the field of play.
Examples of these achievements are NCAA appearances by menís basketball, tennis, rowing, and track and field. In addition, Ebba Jungmark (womenís indoor high jump) and Jeshua Anderson (menís outdoor 400m hurdles) each earned national championships in their respective events. Furthermore, highlighted among the many academic achievements by our sports programs this season was Robbie Cowgill and Jayson Miller earning Pac-10 Scholar Athlete of the Year honors for menís basketball and baseball, respectively.
I also want to emphasize that the football program graduates its student-athletes at a rate four percent higher than the national Division I average, which also ranks the team second in the Pac-10. Additionally, the cumulative team grade point average of 2.73 following the spring of 2008 is the highest ever achieved by the program.
As you can see, there are a great deal of positive things happening with WSU Athletics. Without your backing, the aforementioned student-athletesí successes would not be possible. In all of our sports I believe we have the most important pieces in place to be successful. Year in and year out, it is our goal to be competitive in the Pac-10 and nationally in each of our programs while continuing exemplary achievements in the classroom.
Once again, I deeply appreciate your support for all of our programs, whether through ticket purchases, donations, sponsorships, volunteerism, or by being a great Cougar Fan. Your commitment to Cougar athletics is making a difference in the lives of our student-athletes.