Cougs' bowl bid highlights need for new IPF

IF WSU FANS needed a wake-up call to support their athletic department to a greater degree, the past few days should have hit like a bucket of cold water. First, Washington blew up the salary structure for Pac-12 coaches by giving Chris Petersen $1.1 million MORE per year than the heretofore highest paid coach. The second stark realization: WSU needs a new indoor practice facility right now.

No, the Cougars' new football operations building isn't done yet, but the simple reality is that WSU and its fans need to get moving on the new indoor practice facility that Bill Moos has been dreaming of since he arrived on campus.

Why the urgency?

The Cougars are going bowling for the first time in a decade, which means they are practicing in the month of December. Which means it's very cold outside. Which means they've been forced into the indoor practice facility (a.k.a. The Rick Dickson Memorial Bubble Abomination) to hold their practice sessions and to try to get in quality workouts.

It's not only that the Cougs can't do in the current IPF much of what they would normally do outdoors, it's this: The place features hard, roll-out turf that Moos told donors in Seattle this fall is "an ACL injury waiting to happen."

Bill Doba hated the place. Paul Wulff hated the place. And Mike Leach hates the place. Besides the inferior turf, it's small, cold and poorly lit.

The Crossroads Motel in Breaking Bad had better amenities.


The Cougs going to the New Mexico Bowl puts the need for a new indoor practice facility -- which would be used year-round by all the sports -- front and center, because if the post-season is going to be a regular part of the crimson future, the simple fact is that the current IPF at Washington State is untenable.

Moos has nailed down the design (artist's rendering below) of a new IPF, which would use the existing foundation as a footprint and then expand east by several yards. The new facility would accommodate two 50-yard football fields, a side area for training, locker rooms, offices and a banked, hydraulic track. It also would be climate controlled in a state-of-the-art way so coaches can mimic the weather of their next destination. And it would be lit correctly and feature joint-friendly Field Turf.

The estimated price tag is $25 million to $30 million.

In the ideal world, Moos has said he'd like to pop the bubble and get shovels in the ground on the new IPF shortly after the football ops building is finished in May.

The arms race throughout the Pac-12 is pushing close to $1 billion in projects recently completed, underway or about to begin. The football operations building at WSU will be a jewel to recruit to, but for practical reasons, a new indoor practice facility is also absolutely necessary. And not just for football, but track and field, soccer, baseball and virtually every other sport too.

Here's the kicker, though, that makes it incumbent upon Cougar fans to step up. As Moos has said, the windfall of TV revenue that is coming to WSU is pretty well accounted for in all the projects undertaken to date.

The cost of a new IPF will fall squarely on the shoulders of Cougar fans. Going to bowl games every year requires an investment by fans. And when you live in a part of the country that gets chilly in the winter, part of that investment needs to be a usable indoor practice facility.

Going to Albuquerque to support the Cougs on Dec. 21 is a great idea. An even greater one would be sending a check to Moos that's earmarked for the new IPF. Head to the Cougar Athletic Fund to see all the ways you can help.


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