WSU’s president expects ‘resolution by the end of the month’ on Pac-12 media deal (but we’ve heard that before)
On a scale of 1-10, Kirk Schulz puts likelihood of a June deal at a 7. But what will the value be?
Washington State’s board of regents spent more than an hour Friday morning examining the school’s athletics budget. Athletic director Pat Chun was there to answer questions. It couldn’t have been fun: his department projects an $11.5 million deficit for the 2023 fiscal year, one year after touting a balanced budget in 2022.
Poor oversight led to $5 million more in operating costs than originally projected. WSU’s athletics CFO resigned in April after just six months on the job. Another reason for the deficit: $3.5 million less in distributions from the Pac-12 than what WSU had budgeted, for reasons that have been well documented.
“We must do better,” Chun said, “and we will.”
Complicating the long-term budgeting process, of course, are the Pac-12’s ongoing media-rights negotiations. Is a deal coming? If so, when? And for how much money? And will that number be enough to dissuade schools like, say, Colorado from seeking refuge in the Big 12?
“We expect to have a resolution by the end of the month,” WSU president Kirk Schulz told the board.
Of course, as Schulz acknowledged, he has given estimated timelines in the past that did not materialize. So have other Pac-12 presidents and administrators.
“When we thought some of these things with the Pac-12 revenue would be an issue, back in January and February, we thought, ‘well, we’re going to have the media deal done and signed,’” Schulz said, referring to WSU’s own budget forecast.
“… I never thought we would still be in June negotiating and working with our media partners around what that final deal is going to be.”
Of most interest, though, might have been Schulz’s estimation of the potential value of the deal.