Moos talks facilities, budget, more

PULLMAN – An age-old business adage maintains that one must spend money to make money. Bill Moos certainly believes that to be true.

That explains why the omni-enthusiastic athletic director of Washington State continues to make major purchases, splash new paint and whatnot on existing facilities and plan major projects for the future despite the fact that WSU lost money on athletics for the third consecutive year.

Most college athletic programs lose money. However, the Cougars turned a profit eight consecutive years before losing $200,000 in 2008-09.

Red ink flowed to the tune of $1.6 million a year ago. Moos said final figures are not available for the fiscal year that ended June 30, but he said another loss is a certainty.

The Cougars, who trail other Pac-12 schools by a large margin with an annual athletics budget of $30 million, are hanging tough until the conference's 12-year, $3 billion television contract kicks in during the 2012-13 school year.

Moos said each Pac-12 school figures to receive $14.5 million to $15 million the first year. The average annual take will be $20.8 million. Moos said the Cougars received about $2.7 million in TV money this year.

The long-awaited, oft-delayed expansion of the Martin Stadium football facility is expected to start as soon as the 2011 season ends. Premium seating, including suites and a club room, are projected to be ready in time for the 2012 home opener.

The following summer, WSU's first football operations building is expected to be finished.

That project will cost tens of millions, and Moos said the cost and design should be finalized in time for a WSU Board of Regents vote in October.

"The Regents have been extremely supportive, as has President (Elson) Floyd," Moos said. "I feel they realize just how important this is for the ability of Cougar athletics to be successful and how they can play a significant role for the entire institution in terms of fund-raising, overall morale and all the various areas that can be enhanced with a healthy, successful intercollegiate athletics program."

The Cougars also are spending a few million this summer and fall to spruce up various items.

Included is the installation of a four-sided, center-hung scoreboard with four video screens at the Beasley Coliseum basketball facility. A flashy, brightly painted football equipment truck also is new on the scene, and most teams have new uniforms.

Moos has gone so far as to have the Cougars logo painted on Beasley's roof. Moos is a big believer in branding and marketing, and that's reflected in recent upgrades to the men's and women's basketball practice facility in the Bohler Gym Annex.

"It brought energy and sizzle to what was before a drab and dull area," Moos said. "Literally transformed it from possibly the worst-looking basketball facility in the Pac-12 into maybe the best, (and it was) relatively inexpensive to do it."

Football is the most expensive and potentially most lucrative sport at most colleges, and WSU is no exception. Football attendance and season-ticket sales have dipped in recent years as the Cougars struggled on the gridiron, but Moos is somewhat encouraged that WSU is on pace to top last year's dismal total of 9,865 season tickets.

"I see some improvement there. We've got to have dramatic improvement," Moos said. "I think Cougars are holding out to see what the product is, knowing that if we do turn out to be pretty good, that there's always going to be seats available.

"We have to evolve this program to the point where people are going to need to have to secure their season tickets in May or they're going to be left out. When you can get your program into that situation, you're talking about a happy athletic director."

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