Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


WSU Athletics again runs $13 million deficit

Washington State Athletics released its financial information for the 2015 fiscal year on Tuesday, and the Cougars were once again in the red.

For the second consecutive year WSU Athletics will run a deficit of approximately $13 million. While the Cougars generated an extra $1million in ticket sales over the previous year, overall contributions were down and overall revenue fell by a little more than $300,000. Expenses fell by about $750,000, leaving WSU's shortfall about $500,000 less than the previous year.

Here is the overall summary:

FY15 Financial Results Public

Athletic director Bill Moos composed a letter to fans who are members of the Cougar Athletic Fund addressing the athletic department's financial situation. You can read the entire letter below.

March 14, 2016

Dear Fellow Cougar,

Let me begin by saying thank you for your continued commitment to Washington State Athletics. In the coming days you may be reading and hearing about our Cougar Athletic Department budget. This budget update will show revenues increasing by more than $15 million since 2010 as well as necessary and significant investments we have made in the form of expenses. I would like to share with you our perspective on the investments made in WSU Athletics over the past five years.

When I accepted the athletic director position in 2010, Cougar Athletics was strategically identified as an area of our university in need of significant investment. With steadfast support from our former president and friend, Elson Floyd, we have made more than $140 million in facility improvements. Equally important, we have joined our Pac-12 peers in providing national caliber coaches and staffs to lead our programs while also responding to NCAA deregulation in the form of student-athlete support and full cost-of-attendance scholarships.

I believe it is worth mentioning that we are doing this with the second lowest expense budget in the conference, which is $12 million below the Pac-12 average. Our athletic program is now representative of a Pac-12, Power Five caliber organization based on our investments and I expect to see that continually translating to the field of competition, which some sports have already shown.

Our fiscal year 2015 budget will be released shortly and we will respond to questions about our revenue and investment choices. This report will show an expected budget deficit of over $13 million. The deficit is directly tied to the investments I referred to above as well as several other important needs.

Our revenues have increased significantly since 2010 and I believe WSU Athletics is positioned well to continue our upward trajectory in terms of revenue generation. We continue to work extremely hard to maximize our existing revenue streams as well as identifying and securing innovative new ones. We also remain hopeful that the Pac-12 Networks will begin to generate the type of revenue enjoyed by other Power Five conferences which was a significant factor in our strategic investment initiatives starting over five years ago.

I have asked you to have skin in the game and you have responded by nearly doubling our CAF membership to more than 7,000 since 2010, including 1,500 new CAF members in the past six months. It is imperative that we continue that trend to cover the increasing scholarship costs, approaching $11 million annually, so that future revenue streams can go towards enhancing the student-athlete experience.

Our focus remains the same as was established in 2010: To build a consistently competitive Power Five level athletic program that benefits our university in numerous ways, including increased national exposure, enrollment, donations, and merchandising, to name a few. With your continued help, we can build on the foundation that has been established based on a strategic and purposeful investment in our athletic program.


Bill Moos

Director of Athletics

Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

Follow Jacob online:

Looking for a Grip on Sports?

Vince Grippi's daily take on all things regional sports has been moved to our main sports section online. You can find a collection of these columns here.