Moos warms to pay-day games, talks Pac-12

PULLMAN -- Bill Moos said he would "much rather" schedule home-and-home games with major non-league opponents than a single big-money road contest but economic realities have him engaged in preliminary discussions with Tennessee and Auburn "and a couple other schools" about playing one-game deals. Tennesee and Auburn play in huge stadiums and likely could pay the Cougars $1 million or more.

Since 1973, WSU has played 21 such payday games: against Ohio State (six times), Tennessee (five times), Michigan (three times), Nebraska, Notre Dame and Wisconsin (twice each) and Auburn once. WSU won just two of the 21 -- at Nebraska in '77 and Tennessee in '88.

Moos, who became WSU's athletic director in May, also said Wednesday that he continues to make preliminary plans for an annual "home" game with Oregon or Oregon State at Seattle's Qwest Field. Most Washington State alums live in Western Washington, and the Cougars drew more fans for each of their seven previous games at Qwest (2002-08) than WSU's Martin Stadium holds (35,117). All seven of those games were non-conference contests.

Moos said the Cougars have tentatively agreed to resume their football series with border rival Idaho in 2013. He said both sides are open to the possibility of changing the year if necessary. The two last played in 2007.

Looking ahead to when the Pac-10 becomes the Pac-12, Moos says he doesn't have a feel for which way his fellow ADs are leaning in regard to how the league will be split into two divisions. He also is uncertain if there will be a change in how television revenue is distributed. Moos, however, is making his stand crystal clear.

"If we can get equal distribution of the TV revenue and protect our Northwest rivalries with the Oreogn and Washington schools, I'd be content," Moos said.

In other words, Moos is open to the idea of not necessarily playing in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas every year. Such trips are generally regarded as invaluable selling points for WSU since the Cougars recruit so heavily in California.

Some observers have suggested separating the two Los Angeles schools in order to get one in each division, thereby allowing every school in the conference to play at least periodically in the single-biggest market for athletes in the West.

A proposal to divide TV revenue equally among Pac-10 schools would produce millions of additional revenue each year for WSU, which has the smallest athletics budget ($30 million) in the league by far. The TV money would grow substantially if a proposed Pac-10 television network comes to fruition.

Pac-10 schools presently give 55 percent of the TV money to schools that participate in TV events and 45 percent to the other schools. Schools located in bigger markets tend to attract more TV games.

The Mercury News of San Jose reported that "multiple sources" say Pac-10 ADs are leaning toward the formation of a division with the four California schools and two Arizona schools. That would leave WSU, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah and Colorado in the other division.

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