The Washington State athletics department continues to gush red ink. The Cougars announced Tuesday a loss of $13,274,324 for fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30. The loss was $440,118 less than the previous year’s record deficit of $13,714,442.
Athletic director Bill Moos, who has said he hoped the Cougars could have positive cash flow by 2019, said Tuesday, “That target has moved a bit.” Citing constantly changing revenues and expenses, Moos declined to predict a new projected year for that.
Moos wrote a letter to WSU fans this week noting that more than $140 million in facility improvements have been made since he was hired in 2010. Most of those costs involved the Martin Stadium football facility and the Football Operations Building, which will take years to pay off.
Moos said revenues have increased $15 million since 2010. However, Pac-12 Conference schools are not receiving the revenue originally anticipated from the Pac-12 Networks, in part due to the failure to partner with DirecTV. Also, tuition increases and additional pay for athlete living expenses have increased scholarship costs.
The Cougars recently announced football staff salary increases totaling in excess of $500,000.
“People are continuing to try to poach our coaches,” said Moos, who specifically mentioned popular defensive line/assistant head coach Joe Salave’a.
Moos said all four football socials held after the most recent recruiting season ended were sold-out events that raised a combined total of more than $500,000.
“This isn’t a lavish program that is throwing money out the window,” Moos said.
Cougar Athletic Fund members have nearly doubled since 2010 to 7,000, including 1,500 new members in the past six months, Moos said. However, the athletic director said WSU’s $54,112,605 in revenues rank last in the Pac-12.
Donations dropped $400,000 to $6,617,601 in the past fiscal year. Moos tied in that drop to reduced donations from fans seeking Apple Cup tickets when the annual football game with Washington was played in Pullman in 2014.
Moos said the athletic department receives “fairly minimal” financial support from the university budget. Moos pointed out that football revenue is relatively limited due to Martin Stadium’s small capacity (32,952) for a Football Bowl Subdivision school.
From Moos’s letter:
Our focus remains the same as was established in 2010: To build a consistently competitive Power Five level athletic program that benefits our university in numerous ways, including increased national exposure, enrollment, donations, and merchandising, to name a few. With your continued help, we can build on the foundation that has been established based on a strategic and purposeful investment in our athletic program.
In related news, Moos said he will activate the rollover clause in the contract of men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent so the pact remains at five years. Kent’s rebuilding project has resulted in a record of 22-40 (8-28 Pac-12) in his first two years.