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Tuesday, July 7, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: Money, it’s a gas – and the fuel for college athletics

WSU athletic director Bill Moos, in the school's new football operations building, is facing a $13 million deficit, but says the current budget plan has the Pac-12 program solvent by 2019. (Tyler Tjomsland)
WSU athletic director Bill Moos, in the school's new football operations building, is facing a $13 million deficit, but says the current budget plan has the Pac-12 program solvent by 2019. (Tyler Tjomsland)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • No matter what the NCAA tries to sell us, college sports is a big business, with thousands of employees, including the athletes. And like any business, there is a bottom line. Read on.


"Money, it's a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash. New car, caviar, four-star daydream. Think I'll buy me a football team."

Pink Floyd had it right oh so many years ago, even if the band was singing about soccer, not the football we know.

College football, and all college sports, revolve around money. No program can be successful without it.

That point has been highlighted in the pages of The Spokesman-Review the past week.

Jim Allen wrote about Eastern Washington's need for more money for its athletic programs. Correspondent Peter Harriman had a story on Idaho partnering with the local timber industry on its proposed arena and there was another on an innovative idea to improve concession sales. Today, Jacob Thorpe writes about Washington State athletic director Bill Moos' evolving philosophy concerning financial issues.

Every college program around here needs to "grab that cash with both hands."

Heck, even Gonzaga, with all its success on the basketball scene the past few years, needs funds. It's what allows the little school from Spokane to compete with the big boys with resources backed by multi-million dollar football programs.

You think those trips to Europe to find the next great post player are free. Nope, they cost. As does every aspect of every sports program.

So where does the money come from? There is not one source. Even Oregon, with the seemingly unlimited Nike-branded wallet, has to mine multiple resources.

When you are one of the a smaller schools in your conference, like WSU, or isolated on the Palouse, like Idaho, or still climbing the ladder of success, like EWU, it's harder.

But it has to be done, and done well. Thinking outside the storage bin is imperative. So is maximizing connections. Without money, there is no way to maximize your fans' and players' four-star daydreams.


WSU: As we mentioned (and linked) above, Jacob has this story about Moos and fundraising. … A junior college linebacker is headed to Pullman. … Klay Thompson is living the good life. … Around the Pac-12, Stanford has its first new baseball coach in decades – and he's from Cal. … Though Luke Heimlich won't be at the college World Series with Oregon State, he may return. And there is some thoughts that is what should happen.

Gonzaga: A couple of players with eligibility left are on their way to other schools. Jim Meehan caught up with Dustin Triano, who has decided to attend Western Oregon, and with Bryan Alberts, who is still deciding among a trio of schools. …

EWU: Cooper Kupp won't have to eat any Top Ramen for a while. Unless he wants to. Jim Allen has a story on Kupp's contract with the Los Angeles Rams.

Indians: It was supposed to be a celebration. But Mother Nature was having none of it. She decided to crash the opening-day party with a rain storm and force a Father's Day doubleheader. Whitney Ogden has the story, John Blanchette a column, Colin Mulvany a photo gallery and Johnathan Curley a story on the fans. … The Northwest League season opened yesterday with Vancouver and Hillsboro winning.

Chiefs: Spokane made a trade yesterday.

Empire: Spokane is in Salt Lake City tonight and has to win to have any chance at a playoff spot. But, as Jim Meehan's story points out, the Empire also needs help.

Golf: North Idaho College's coach won the Oregon Open Invitational. … The scores in Wisconsin early yesterday seemed almost like the John Deere Classic, not the U.S. Open. Erin Hills seemed a bit defenseless. It should change today.

Mariners: We listened to the M's game yesterday – switching to the U.S. Open between innings – though after the bottom of the first, it seemed like a waste of time. Ariel Miranda had troubles hitting his spots and it cost him against the Twins in a 6-2 loss. … So did a lack of speed. … The Tacoma-to-Seattle relief pitcher train is still running. … Safeco Field will still be the M's stadium, no matter what the name. … Kyle Lewis hurt his knee again. Don't worry, it's not bad.

Seahawks: This just in: Pete Carroll is optimistic. You heard it here first. … Michael Bennett has parental responsibilities he takes seriously.

Sounders: The U.S. Open Cup organizers don't seem to like the Sounders much. But that's nothing new.


• The weekend is almost here. Where I am, it is warm. Really warm. And sunny. Perfect for Father's Day. And on this site? Sunday will be perfect for fishing. Fishing stories. We have a few to share. As for Saturday, we will be here as well, though the person we are staying with, with which I am related to by marriage, doesn't believe in the Interweb. So we feel a little like a wi-fi thief as I find places to hunker down and peruse the web. Until later … 

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