Ever since Washington State president Kirk Schulz stepped foot on campus, he has been enemy No. 1 for Wazzu fans and more specifically, Washington State football fans. While the Robert Barber incident last year put him in an unfavorable light, along with a handful of things to follow, I think many Cougs just assume he's out to gut the football program instead of listening to what he has to say about the football program.
And let me explain why I'm bringing this up.
ESPN National College football writer Adam Rittenberg posted a lengthy tweet this afternoon saying defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is a hot commodity for many programs in the country and, according to Rittenberg, believes WSU is reducing its football spending and would be unable to match any offer made to Grinch.
Now many fans got upset about this and jumped down Schulz's throat, via Twitter, to which he responded. He ultimately said he is committed to adding resources towards the football program and its assistant coaches. So, that's great! But, read this second sentence carefully in the tweet below. "The only way we (Washington State) can continue our positive trend is for Cougs to stop worrying & contribute to the Cougar Athletic Fund."
I know Washington State fans just want to ignore anything the president says because they've painted him as a Grinch-like character, but there are two facts that everyone has to understand:
1. Schulz has a big university deficit on his hands and the athletic department is contributing about 8 million dollars of that deficit.
2. Cougs are not supporting the program through the Cougar Athletic Fund.
Thanks to our friends at COUGFan.com we can further illustrate this point:
As far as Power 5 schools go, we're not looking at the Ohio State's and Alabama's of the world. Washington State will never compete with them.
But look at the average annual donations per donor for the four schools listed above.
I mean, there should be no reason why Oregon State almost triples Washington State's contributions.
To be honest, that is sad.
It is also frustrating for a president and it is why the next athletic director needs to be a 'money-first' selection. That doesn't mean Schulz is ready to move Washington State to FCS football or punt any kind of momentum this program has earned in recent years--he understands a successful football program brings in big dollars--but fans cannot be yelling 'do this' and 'do that' and not help in the cause.
This is a two-way street and it's a little bit of what came first, the chicken or the egg? Schulz says 'If you give us money, we can make more things happen.' Fans say, 'Well how about you prove to us that you care about the program and then we'll kick in money.'
(It should also be noted the Schulz family has donated $10,000 to the fund)
It's worth mentioning that fans have shown support in terms of attendance, which of course has led to increased dollars. Also, bigger donors have kicked in some extra dough recently, which has helped. In addition, former athletic director Bill Moos made improvements with the Cougar Athletic Fund during his tenure, he just didn't make enough of a dent.
Regardless of what any fan thinks about Schulz or if they think he is as exciting as watching late night CSPAN, fans need to listen to him on this point. It's time to give him a chance and kick-in some money.
And when you donate, call the president and say 'I donated X amount of dollars, what are you doing with my money?'
At that point let's revisit this topic.
Kirk Schulz might hold the keys to the car, but the fans are the wheels of this whole operation.