Moos talks Pac-12 expansion, stadium upgrade

BILL MOOS TELLS CF.C he gave a sigh of relief when he learned the Pacific-12 Conference decided not to expand, but the Washington State athletic director realizes that situation could change in a heartbeat.

"It could," Bill Moos told on Wednesday. "Never say never."

Football television revenue is the driving force behind the non-stop game of musical chairs in college conferences. Moos said he would certainly expect WSU's television revenue to increase if the Pac-12 became the Pac-16 – which appeared quite possible only a few days ago – but the AD says he is delighted the Pac-12 remains intact.

"Once the dust settled a year ago and we had the conference established, every aspect of how it turned out was exactly what I wanted for Washington State and for the conference," Moos said. "I think we have a strong, proud conference that is respected not just athletically, but academically. We have the largest television deal in the history of college sports, and we're sharing the revenue equally."

THE LARGER THE conference, of course, the larger the number of teams that don't win a conference championship each year in each sport. That's just one reason why Moos says the Cougars chances of winning a league title in football are better in the Pac-12 than a Pac-16.

"The California schools, all four of them play each other every year, so they're going to have a little tougher go," Moos said. "We don't have to play the Southern California schools every year. We can have a legitimate chance of winning the Pac-12 North and thus being a game away from the Rose Bowl. Now, if we had 16 teams, most probably we'd be in the Western Division, would be made up of the old Pac-8 schools. To get through that division would be a lot tougher, because we'd have Oregon, Stanford, USC, UCLA. Then if you win (the division and go to the conference championship game), you play the East, and that's going to be Texas or Oklahoma or Colorado or Arizona State (among others)."

MOOS SCOFFED AT the suggestion that national power brokers like Texas or Oklahoma might question Washington State's role in a Pac-16.

Moos noted that, starting next year, the home team keeps all gate profits from conference games. Currently, Pac-12 teams almost always pay the visitors a maximum of $200,000. Since other Pac-12 teams typically draw more than WSU, they stand to profit more under the new plan.

Of course, the added millions in annual television income for the Cougars easily offsets the loss in conference road games revenue.

"We're in the best (financial) situation we've ever been in the history of the university," Moos said.

THAT HELPS EXPLAIN why the Cougars are forging full speed ahead with plans to expand and upgrade Martin Stadium and to build the school's first football operations building. Bonds will help fund the projects.

"We'd like the whole project to fall within $80 million," Moos said.

Design plans for the stadium and the football building continue to be altered as Moos prepares for official approval Nov. 18 at the WSU Board of Regents meeting.

"Every indication I have is there is very good support there," Moos said. "And of course, there's tremendous support from President (Elson) Floyd and our people on campus."

Moos said the projected cost of the football building was reduced when it was recently decided the building could be downsized without "an adverse affect on its ability to function efficiently."

Moos said a price list is being prepared for naming rights for the new club room at Martin Stadium and for various facilities in the football building. In addition, Moos said he remains all ears if someone wants to pay big dollars for naming rights to WSU playing facilities, including Martin Stadium.

"I certainly wouldn't close the door on 'em," he said with a laugh.

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