Cougar Corner | WSU Won't Pursue Deal to Move Apple Cup to Qwest Field

Lew WrightSenior Writer IApril 27, 2009

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13:  A Washington State Cougars helmet showing the initials of Pat Tillman next to the American flag during the Arizona State Sun Devils against Washington State Cougars Pac-10 game at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field on November 13, 2004 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Washington State University athletic director Jim Sterk announced this morning that the Apple Cup will not move to a neutral site.

That's right. The Apple Cup is staying just as it is, a rivalry game that rotates between the home fields of UW and WSU.

Stories in the media, including those written by yours truly, made it seem a deal between First & Goal and WSU was nearly in place.

Wrong conclusion to jump to.

Many vocal and passionate folks across Cougar Nation were outraged by the possibility of losing the Apple Cup in Pullman every other year.

If everything has a price, including tradition, First & Goal couldn't put together a package that would make sense to either WSU athletics or the school administration.

Sometimes the best deal is one that isn't made.

Jim Sterk wasn't about to make a deal where WSU didn't reap tremendous benefit.

The added edge gained by playing the Apple Cup in front of more than 30,000 passionate Cougar football fans at Martin Stadium remains in place. No question that the Cougs always come to play, regardless of the site. The addition of playing one of the longest standing rivalry games steeped in tradition on the campus of Washington State is a huge plus.

Here's what Jim Sterk had to say about the decision to walk away from a potential deal for WSU athletics:

"President Floyd and I have decided not to pursue further conversations about moving the Apple Cup to Qwest Field," said Jim Sterk, WSU AD. “I want to reiterate that at no time did we have a finalized agreement. It became evident an understanding on ways to maintain the neutral-site atmosphere in regards to ticket allotment could not be reached; therefore, our student-athletes and Cougar fans would not be best served without this key component. I was not going to continue following a path that was not in the best interest of WSU Athletics, the university, and our fans.”

“What made this possible agreement attractive were the additional number of tickets available to our fans, the financial gain seen by the athletic department, and the tremendous exposure created by playing a game of this magnitude at one of the premier sporting venues in the country. However, the final details could not be ironed out.

“We appreciate the relationship we have with First & Goal and will work with them to maintain WSU football’s presence at Qwest Field.”

Though this will come as great news to all Cougs, don't lose sight of why these discussions went as far as they did.

Washington State athletics continue to need additional support to be competitive as a proud member of the Pac-10. That is a very sobering issue.

On this Friday, let's enjoy the moment, knowing that for the foreseeable future there will be more opportunities for fans to race onto the field turf of Martin Stadium in mid-November to celebrate more Apple Cup victories!


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