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October 21, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Woodward: “Everyone is very happy with where we all landed.”

I just got off the phone with University of Washington athletic director Scott Woodward to get his reaction to today’s official announcement of football divisions for the new Pac-12 Conference, revenue sharing, and a few other expansion-related details.
You can read the details here.
Woodward said he was pleased with the outcome, saying that the “most important thing is that this Pac-12 expansion and the ability for us to operate in a truly equitable model now puts us in a tremendous position to do a huge blockbuster financial deal (for new TV rights) that puts us on a par with our true rivals, the Big Ten and the SEC, from a financial standpoint.”
That, he said, could help UW to the tune of $6-9 million a year annually, if not more.
Also, as pertains specifically to UW, the new revenue sharing plan will eliminate the “traditional rival rule” that called for schools to share the revenue for their traditional rivalry game. In the case of UW and WSU, that had the Huskies sending WSU about $1.2 million in years the Apple Cup was played in Seattle, while getting roughly $400,000 in years the game was held in Pullman due to the disparity in the attendance at the two venues.
“We subsidized WSU to the tune of $400,000 a year to their athletic department (the average in the disparity) and that has been eliminated,” Woodward said. “Those are two key issues from our standpoint that are really great.”
To get equal revenue sharing conference-wide, however, meant a little compromise elsewhere, and one of those was an agreement on how the divisions would be split and traditional rivalries preserved. As noted in the above story, UW will be with the three other NW schools and Cal and Stanford in the North Division.
However, Cal and Stanford will continue to play USC and UCLA every year. The other four NW schools will no longer play those schools annually and will be guaranteed one trip every other year to LA (to play either USC or UCLA) and one visit from one of those schools every other year).
Woodward said that while ideally, UW would have continued to play the LA schools every year, the benefits of expansion and revenue sharing are far greater.
“Coach (Steve) Sarkisian and I talked about it and his comment was great,” Woodward said. “He said that ‘those guys are going to be sick of seeing me there every January.’ So of course, you always like playing those programs. But when you have something this big and so much at stake, in order for us to really thrive as a conference those become minor issues. Sure there is a preference that we would like to go to southern California more often. But it’s not the end of the world for us.”
Woodward said that ultimately, it was agreed that the Bay Area-LA school rivalries should be treated the same as the in-state rivalries for other schools.
And he said that the added revenue for UW is critical during a time of challenging economics as well as some specific goals, such as the renovation of Husky Stadium.
“There is always give and take in these things,”
He said that he and UW interim president Phyllis Wise “are always on the same page” on these issues, and noted that the CEOs today voted unanimously to approve the agreement.
He said that in terms of a percentage, WSU and OSU will be the biggest financial gainers.
But he said that “there is enough money for everyone and everyone realizes that a growing pie is the best way to go and to be a united conference with equal partners is a great place to be. … Ultimately, in the end, everyone is very happy with where we all landed from a macro standpoint.”
And in a point specific to UW, Woodward confirmed that if the Huskies were to host the conference title game in 2011 or 2012 it would be played at Qwest Field due to the renovation of Husky Stadium.



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