Donations to WSU athletics are up, but…large competitive gap remains
ESPN’s College GameDay in Pullman last season was a national advertisement showcasing Washington State University and one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in the country.
When our football team competes on a national stage and basketball earns a trip to March Madness, applications for enrollment spike, it raises the profile for the entire University, and increased donations follow.
For these very reasons it is now time for WSU alumni and friends to step up their financial support for WSU athletics so we can compete on a consistent basis.
Some very good news
• WSU Athletics raised $15.1 million in the fiscal year ending June 30. This is the second-highest yearly total in history.
• Of that total, the Cougar Athletic Fund (CAF)—which supports student-athlete scholarships—accounted for a record $8.6 million. This is an increase of $900,000 from the prior year and a $2.15 million increase from 2017!
• 1,516 new donors joined the CAF in FY19. Historical evidence shows that new donors increase their giving over time which bodes well for the future.
As Cougar fans we have a lot of work to do.
WSU ranks 12th in the Pac-12 in donations to athletics. To put this into perspective, Oregon State ranks 11th and raised $10.8 million more than WSU in the last fiscal year. Further, Oregon State had a much larger number of major donors ($25,000 or more) than did WSU.
I challenge existing donors to step it up and new donors to join the CAF. The record $8.6 million to the CAF is a good start, but that number should be much higher given the size and wealth of our alumni base, the strong economy in the state of Washington, and the passion of our fan base. Based on donations at peer institutions (Oregon State included), annual donations to the Cougar Athletic Fund should be $15 million.
To jumpstart this ascent I am going to double my donations to WSU Athletics to $150,000 this calendar year, and I ask all current donors to increase their support. If you are not a member of the CAF, I ask that you join now. This effort will take all WSU alumni and friends!
A major priority for WSU Athletics is the new Indoor Practice Facility (IPF) that will be used by all 17 sports teams. Every Power 5 university in the northern United States has such a facility, even non-Power 5 Boise State University and Utah State University.
The cost for the IPF is $21 million. Gifts can be pledged over a number of years. For example, a major gift of $100,000 or more can be pledged over five years. This includes donations with appreciated assets such as stocks and real estate.
Let’s do this!
Now is the time to take WSU athletics to the next level so please start now.
To increase your donation, join the CAF, or contribute to the IPF, please contact Adam Ganders, Cougar Athletic Fund, at 509-335-0218 or email@example.com.
There is no doubt in my mind we will get to our rightful place in the Pac-12.
Glenn Osterhout ’82 Busi.
Glenn Osterhout is on the Board of Directors of the WSU Foundation, chairman and cofounder of CougsFirst!, and a periodic columnist for Cougfan.com.