This time of year football dominates the discussion, and information, each morning here. But today we're going to veer off into some uncharted territory. Oh sure, we're going to still have your football news. We never miss that. But we're also going to discuss athletics, finance, basketball and cheating. If you're interested, read on.
• Washington State: Before we get into football, we wanted to open up the forum today to a discussion on athletics, and how much sports drives the financial fortunes of a university. What brought this on? A report yesterday leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle concerning ways to rein in Cal's $10 million athletic department deficit. The recommendation will be to eliminate some of the Bears' 27 athletic programs to pare the deficit down to no more than $5 million a year. But there were a couple paragraphs in the story that caught my eye. ... "Every single recommendation will be taken into account," said Dan Mogulof, executive director of UC Berkeley's public relations department. "The options rest with campus senior leadership. It's really a joint effort based on a shared recommendation by everyone that things can't continue along the same financial path they've been on. At the same time, we don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot." That's a reference to a major theme of the report by the chancellor's committee, that athletics is a gateway to philanthropic donations that extend beyond sports. According to the report, the university's top 138 lifetime donors to the athletic department have given $280 million to sports and $370 million to academics. ... Wow. At Cal, the major athletic donors give almost a third-again as much money to academics as athletics. And I presume that happens everywhere. If it does, then the success – fund-raising and on the field – of the athletic department takes on an even greater importance to our institutions of higher learning. So what do you think? Is this common? Is it right? Does it happen at WSU, at UW, at EWU? Just wondering. ... Moving back into the athletic realm (we'll get to basketball and cheating in a bit), we had our Pac-10 notebook in today's S-R, and our summary of Paul Wulff's press conferences on this post. ... The WSU Football Blog got back to summarizing his radio show this week. ... Howie Stalwick has his weekly WSU notebook in the Kitsap Sun and other papers (enjoy the M's game, Howie). ... SMU quarterback Kyle Padron did more running last week than he's done before. ... And that's it today.
• Around the Pac-10: We'll get into the Reggie Bush stuff in the USC section, if you were wondering. ... How does the Pac-10 rank among the nation's conferences? ... Ted Miller of ESPN.com updated the conference's Heisman hopefuls. ... Bud Withers has his Pac-10 notebook. ... There isn't that much difference between the Pac-10 and Big Ten anymore. ... Washington: Nebraska invades Seattle with a coach, Bo Pellini, who could have been the Huskies head guy. ... The Huskers also have a quarterback who runs like the old Jake Locker. ... Oregon State: Is Jacquizz Rodgers really in a slump? ... It's been a while since the Beavers have played at home. ... Oregon: The Ducks' special teams have played well this season. Think it's because they have some depth? ... Now we get to the basketball part of today's report. Seems there may have been some eligibility issues at Oregon and they may have played a part in all the defections – including the recent departure of center Michael Dunigan to an Israeli professional team. Interesting. ... Cal: Linebacker Mike Mohamed is nursing a sore toe. ... The Bears' second string also works with the scout team, something that is common at WSU. ... Stanford: Andrew Luck is taking on the Tim Tebow role for the Cardinal – in a lot of ways. ... Saturday's game kicks off late. ... USC: OK, now to Reggie Bush and his decision to give back the Heisman Trophy. As you can imagine, that led to a lot of comment in Los Angeles and the Times was no difference. Three columnists, Bill Plaschke, Chris Dufresne and T.J. Simers all write about it. ... UCLA: A freshman running back is going to play more. ... Arizona State: Steven Threet has earned a win over Wisconsin before. ... With the problems on the offensive line, there may be a lineup change. ... Arizona: Last year's Iowa game was a coming out party for Nick Foles.
• That's all for this morning. We'll be back after this afternoon's practice, the final one with pads this week. By the way, WSU leaves bright and early Friday morning for Dallas. The high will be in the 90s on Saturday, so the Cougars want to spend a little time acclimating to the warmth. Until later ...