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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  WA Government

University athletic budgets could get more scrutiny under Washington House bill

OLYMPIA –State universities would have to be more transparent about how much they spend on athletics under a bill heard by a House committee Wednesday.

The Board of Trustees or Regents would have to approve the annual budget for athletics in a public meeting at the beginning of the fiscal year. Athletic departments that spend more than that budget would be required to create a plan to reduce spending, post a plan on their website and get advanced approval for most expenditures of $250,000 or more that were not part of the annual budget.

Both the University of Washington and Washington State University athletic programs have run multimillion-dollar deficits in recent years, with WSU experiencing a shortfall several years in a row.

Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, the bill’s sponsor, said it would help public universities address their deficits by increasing accountability.

“I think we all want to make sure that the investments are responsible,” he said. “You may agree on some of the decisions that are made on athletic spending or not, but it’s hard to disagree that those decisions should be made out in the open.”

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