Moos on 4-year scholies, stipends, facilities

PULLMAN – USC's move to guarantee scholarship athletes in revenue sports four years of free schooling rather than the standard renewable-one-year-deal, holds pros and cons, says Washington State athletic director Bill Moos. But for competitive reasons he believes WSU and every other school in the conference will likely need to move in USC's direction in some form.

Moos said he doesn't anticipate anyone else jumping in with four-year deals across the board, he told Cougfan.com on Wednesday. But on a situational base, yes.

He said he and his coaches have been talking about the issue and will continue to do so this summer as he strives to put a definitive policy in place by the start of the school year.

The advantages of a four-year guarantee on the recruiting trail are pretty clear, he said.

"For example, you're on a kid, a student-athlete, and Oregon State is only offering a one-year (scholarship) with a renewal and we offer that student-athlete – let's just say in the sport of football – we offer him a four-year deal, that obviously looks a lot more appealing," he said.

On the flipside of that recruiting advantage, however, is having your proverbial hands tied when a player doesn't honor the contract.

"I think there would have to be stipulations in there that you can't just come to school and slough off and you don't come to practice, you don't go to class and expect to get four years of free education," Moos said.

"In their (the coaches') situation, if you have someone that's under-performing but you've guaranteed them a four-year scholarship, then that all of the sudden becomes a competitive disadvantage because they can't replace that individual," he said. "Looking at it from the student-athlete side, most of them deserve a four-year deal and we ought to have to flexibility to offer those. That's kind of where I'm sitting."

USC's decision to offer four-year athletic scholarships isn't ground breaking -- Colorado has offered four-year deals to every player in its last two men's basketball recruiting cycles -– but the breadth of it, with football and men's and women basketball included, is significant.

The Big Ten Conference last month announced a collective endorsement for four-year scholarship guarantees.

ON AN EVEN HOTTER TOPIC IN college athletics right now, Moos is unequivocal that student-athletes should not be paid, but he also believes firmly that the stipends athletes receive should equal the full cost of attendance, not just tuition, books, fees, room and board.

The full cost of attendance factors in transportation and the miscellaneous expenses associated with going to college. For the 2014-15 school year, WSU calculates those expenses to add up to $3,542.

For the football team, with 85 scholarship spots, providing a stipend that covered each athlete's full cost of attendance would collectively add up to a little more than $325,000 per year on top of tuition, books, fees, room and board.

As for the idea of players getting an actual salary to play, Moos is straight forward: "I feel they are being paid -- they're getting a $100,000 education -- that's gotta be worth something. When we start to discount the value of an education, I think we've got a problem as to whether we're amateurs or professionals. I believe that the purity of college athletics is in the fact that it has to do with the education, and the value of that education."

ON THE FACILITIES FRONT, MOOS SAID the renovation to the soccer field is expected to be finished by fall camp. After that, his to-do list includes the renovation of the men's and women's basketball locker rooms in both Beasley Coliseum and Bohler Gym; replacement of the indoor practice facility bubble with a permanent and larger building, and construction of a baseball clubhouse. He didn't offer on a time line for any of the proposed projects.

Once the basketball locker rooms are upgraded, WSU's basketball facilities will stack up in the "middle" of the conference, Moos said, noting that in recent years WSU has invested in basketball practice gym renovations, a center-hung video board in Beasley, and updated branding.

NOTABLE:

Moos said in response to a question about the outlook for Washington State's track program that he believes WSU now has the infrastructure to compete in every sport. "When you really think about facilities, our nutrition program, our training table, our physical therapy, sports medicine, academic support, we've got all of those in place to rival anybody. And to truly say that we're in the upper end of the Pac-12, that's a lot of what it takes in recruiting these days."

In addition, he said, "we have a great academic institution, a great community, and we have the right coaches here now that we can be competitive. I hired eight of them in four years but they're the right ones and I really think our coaching staff as a whole is excellent. They have tremendous credentials and they look at Washington State as a destination, not a stepping stone. I think that's important when you're putting an effort into having stability in the program across the board."

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