WSU's shocking loss takes off-field toll

A MAJOR FUNDRAISING campaign at Washington State focused on the proposed new indoor practice facility and baseball clubhouse, and building up Cougar Athletic Fund membership, was all set to launch on Tuesday. But it didn’t happen. The psychological toll of the Cougar football team's loss to Portland State on the Cougar Nation dictated that the campaign be postponed.

“Much like the rest of the world, we were confident in getting a win and launching it on 9/8," Uri Farkas, WSU's assistant athletic director for annual giving, told CF.C today while waiting for his flight to New Jersey for the Rutgers game Saturday.

"Obviously, things have changed. We’ve listened to folks and we’re very aware of the noise and the chatter that’s out there. And it just wasn’t the appropriate time to launch on Tuesday,” he said.

But the delay hasn’t diminished Farkas’ enthusiasm for the campaign.

“We’re going to make some tweaks and adjustments and we’re going to come back and relaunch it in the very, very near future,” Farkas said. “And I think folks are going to be very excited when they see it and I think they’re going to be very excited by some of the changes they see.

“Over the past year we’ve read and we've listened to the things people have said about difficulty of giving, if they’ve felt there has been a lack of information or transparency in what we’re trying to do. And so we’ve put together a very comprehensive campaign that we think really combats those issues our potential and existing donors have had. And we feel really good about where we’re at, the help we’ve enlisted, some of the advice we’ve received in putting together a great, great campaign moving forward.”

The proposed IPF (pictured above) is expected to cost between $23 million and $26 million. The baseball clubhouse will run about $6.5 million, though roughly half the amount needed is accounted for via pledges that were secured by outgoing Cougar baseball coach Donnie Marbut.

Funding for the IPF and baseball clubhouse falls solely on the shoulders of Cougar fans, as bonded financing avenues have been exhausted by the Cougar Football Complex and the Martin Stadium remodel.

With the Cougar Athletic Fund, Farkas’ goal is to reach 7,000 members by the end of the fiscal year, June 30. As of this past June 30, the number stood at 6,012. Money raised via the CAF is used to offset the cost of athletic scholarships. WSU is believed to be the only school in the conference that doesn't raised enough to cover those costs. In the just-concluded fiscal year that chasm was huge -- the CAF raised $5.1 million but the cost of scholarships was $10.4 million. The difference is made through the athletic department's operating budget.

“Our whole Cougar Family was disappointed in the loss. For those who have invested in the program, it certainly stings probably a little bit more. We’re aware of the comments that have come in, we have read every single one of them. We know it’s tough times. But we also know we have a lot of football left to play.”

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