AUDIO AND COPY: Sterk makes his case on Qwest

PULLMAN -- In light of staunch criticism this week on a proposal to move the Apple Cup exclusively to Seattle for six years beginning in 2010, Washington State Director of Athletics Jim Sterk met the press today following the Cougars' second scrimmage, speaking for 15 minutes on the issues surrounding the potential Apple Cup move.

Washington State failed to control it's own message on the proposed Apple Cup move -- first word on the proposal was reported by a newspaper on Wednesday night -- and it's now put Jim Sterk in the unenviable position of swimming upstream against a tide of crimson sentiment that has been running hotly against.

Sterk, in a 15-minute conversation with media on Saturday afternoon, said he has been considering the issue of playing the Apple Cup in Seattle at Qwest Field for the last 1-2 months.

"My first reaction was ‘Hell no,' and ‘No way'," Sterk said. "But, unfortunately, we're in unprecedented times. Every day, thousands of people are getting laid off, you see it in the news every day, and athletics is not immune to that."

Some have speculated that after the proposed six year agreement, a situation would then exist where WSU would now be beholden to that extra revenue in the budget and therefore couldn't afford not to continue to play the game in Seattle -- that the Apple Cup might never return to Pullman.

"I think it would have to be evaluated at that time," Sterk said. "In the meantime, we've got a Phase III project of our stadium that can help us build our revenues. So maybe (in six years) it's a wash for us to go and it's better for us to play the Apple Cup here. That's something I would look at and try to do during that six years -- build it up, get our Phase III done, and possibly more, and then bring it back."

WSU takes in around $240,000 for the Apple Cup when the game is played in Pullman, around $800,000 when played in Husky Stadium. Sterk said the proposal being considered with First & Goal Inc. -- Paul Allen's company that runs Qwest Field -- would increase WSU's share by $10 MIL over six years, or $1.67 MIL more a year.

Sterk said the Washington State athletic department is looking at a $1.5 - 2 MIL "challenge" for the coming year. To balance the budget, he said, he and his staff is looking at "anything and everything". If the agreement were not to be finalized, Sterk said with regard to potential layoffs and cutting sports programs, "I think all those things are on the table".

"I don't want to get to that point," said Sterk. "And that's the challenge of our situation."

Although it was reported Wednesday by one newspaper that an agreement was near and was expected to be finalized soon, Sterk seemed to indicate otherwise today.

"I don't have a timeline on that...I think both schools are looking at it hard and I'm really not sure when it will be finalized. We have a draft of an agreement but there may be things that would change on that. Nothing has been signed. I haven't signed in blood," Sterk said.

But asked if he expected the deal to be signed eventually, Sterk answered cautiously in the affirmative.

"I can't say that. I think so, but I couldn't say that there may be things that change it that I don't know about (now). As the factors I see right now, yeah I think it probably would (go through)," said Sterk.

Sterk also said it would be "fiscally irresponsible" not to have considered the move and said by making an Apple Cup at Qwest part of a student's sports pass, he believes WSU would end up with more students at Qwest than would the Huskies.

With the September non-conference game currently played in Seattle coming back to Pullman under the proposed plan, Sterk said the Pullman business community might see a wash or possible increase in revenue. The Pullman Chamber of Commerce disagreed earlier this week, the 448-member organization of businesses from Pullman and across the Palouse sent a letter to Sterk that said they were "aghast" at the idea.

CF.C subscribers can listen to Sterk's comments in their entirety here:





CF.C will have a report on the second scrimmage a little later on. Also, for further reading on the proposed Apple Cup move exclusively to Seattle, see these previously published commentaries:
COMMENTARY: Find another way on Apple Cup
Apple Cup furor: Fans should look in mirror




Cougfan Top Stories



","mobileBody":"Washington State failed to control it's own message on the proposed Apple Cup move -- first word on the proposal was reported by a newspaper on Wednesday night -- and it's now put Jim Sterk in the unenviable position of swimming upstream against a tide of crimson sentiment that has been running hotly against.

Sterk, in a 15-minute conversation with media on Saturday afternoon, said he has been considering the issue of playing the Apple Cup in Seattle at Qwest Field for the last 1-2 months.

\"My first reaction was ‘Hell no,' and ‘No way',\" Sterk said. \"But, unfortunately, we're in unprecedented times. Every day, thousands of people are getting laid off, you see it in the news every day, and athletics is not immune to that.\"

Some have speculated that after the proposed six year agreement, a situation would then exist where WSU would now be beholden to that extra revenue in the budget and therefore couldn't afford not to continue to play the game in Seattle -- that the Apple Cup might never return to Pullman.

\"I think it would have to be evaluated at that time,\" Sterk said. \"In the meantime, we've got a Phase III project of our stadium that can help us build our revenues. So maybe (in six years) it's a wash for us to go and it's better for us to play the Apple Cup here. That's something I would look at and try to do during that six years -- build it up, get our Phase III done, and possibly more, and then bring it back.\"

WSU takes in around $240,000 for the Apple Cup when the game is played in Pullman, around $800,000 when played in Husky Stadium. Sterk said the proposal being considered with First & Goal Inc. -- Paul Allen's company that runs Qwest Field -- would increase WSU's share by $10 MIL over six years, or $1.67 MIL more a year.

Sterk said the Washington State athletic department is looking at a $1.5 - 2 MIL \"challenge\" for the coming year. To balance the budget, he said, he and his staff is looking at \"anything and everything\". If the agreement were not to be finalized, Sterk said with regard to potential layoffs and cutting sports programs, \"I think all those things are on the table\".

\"I don't want to get to that point,\" said Sterk. \"And that's the challenge of our situation.\"

Although it was reported Wednesday by one newspaper that an agreement was near and was expected to be finalized soon, Sterk seemed to indicate otherwise today.

\"I don't have a timeline on that...I think both schools are looking at it hard and I'm really not sure when it will be finalized. We have a draft of an agreement but there may be things that would change on that. Nothing has been signed. I haven't signed in blood,\" Sterk said.

But asked if he expected the deal to be signed eventually, Sterk answered cautiously in the affirmative.

\"I can't say that. I think so, but I couldn't say that there may be things that change it that I don't know about (now). As the factors I see right now, yeah I think it probably would (go through),\" said Sterk.

Sterk also said it would be \"fiscally irresponsible\" not to have considered the move and said by making an Apple Cup at Qwest part of a student's sports pass, he believes WSU would end up with more students at Qwest than would the Huskies.

With the September non-conference game currently played in Seattle coming back to Pullman under the proposed plan, Sterk said the Pullman business community might see a wash or possible increase in revenue. The Pullman Chamber of Commerce disagreed earlier this week, the 448-member organization of businesses from Pullman and across the Palouse sent a letter to Sterk that said they were \"aghast\" at the idea.

CF.C subscribers can listen to Sterk's comments in their entirety here:

[MEDIA:669557]
[MEDIA:669558]
[MEDIA:669559]

CF.C will have a report on the second scrimmage a little later on. Also, for further reading on the proposed Apple Cup move exclusively to Seattle, see these previously published commentaries:
COMMENTARY: Find another way on Apple Cup
Apple Cup furor: Fans should look in mirror



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