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Cougars could cash in

Further Pac-10 expansion would mean more dollars for WSU

A big part of the gain for Washington State associated with Pac-10 expansion is financial. The school has the leanest athletic budget in the conference at around $30 million.

The larger expansion scenarios – with Big 12 members Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas A&M following Colorado’s lead – project a conference per school payout in the $20 million range each year – about what Big Ten and SEC members receive – most of that coming from television.

“The fact that we could be seeing a tremendous increase in television revenue, which would be extremely important for our program,” athletic director Bill Moos said.

As expansion moves forward and television contracts are negotiated – Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said those negotiations will begin next year as the current contract expires in 2012 – Moos hopes not only for a larger pot but also for a more equitable distribution of funds.

“A chance to add $20 million, that’s a pretty significant increase,” Moos said. “The other thing I like about the potential here is a different revenue-sharing formula. We do not share equally right now.”

In 2009-10, WSU is projected to receive $3.6 million in shared television revenue, part of a total conference payout projected at $6.32 million. The other conference schools receive more, with USC topping the list above $11 million.

“It’s my hope that we would have a model more structured like the Big Ten or the Southeastern Conference,” Moos said, mentioning conferences that share equally in all league-related revenue.

“It was clear that the Pac-10 was undervalued from a monetary standpoint,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero told the Los Angeles Times. “The exploration of expansion made sense.”

Scott said financial considerations are playing a large role in the expansion scenarios, adding the conference’s recent hiring of the Creative Artist Agency was aimed at coming up with a market analysis.

“We have a good sense that any decisions we make are grounded in sound financial analysis and our members will be better off,” he said.

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