A weekly assessment of Pac-12 news, quasi-news and (occasional) non-news …

Rising: Washington athletics.

It’s all in the timing, right? Or blind luck? Or simply cyclical?

Across-the-board athletic department success can be all three, and one more: Smart decision-making.

Washington’s 10-year, $119 million Adidas deal is the latest boost to a department on the ascent.

Chris Petersen, Mike Hopkins, a major naming-rights deal, smart Olympic sports hires, and now …

Nine figures from Three Stripes.

The deal materialized because athletic director Jen Cohen and the Huskies were willing to walk away from Nike after a 20-year partnership.

Yes, it adds juice to a rivalry (with Oregon) that needs little additional juicing.

But it also adds cash to an operations budget that does, in fact, need the money.

Washington’s debt service on the $280 million Husky Stadium renovation — combined with the cost of doing business in the Power Five (i.e., pay hikes for Petersen’s defensive braintrust) — created a series of fiscal challenges.

In a presentation to the Board of Regents last spring, Cohen and Co. indicated the Huskies likely would be cash flow-negative in FY19 … and FY20 … and FY21.

(Combined projected deficit: $12 million.)

The primary issue: The $16+ million debt service payment due annually for the stadium renovation.

Granted, the budget outlook could have brightened in the year since the presentation — UW officials will appear before the BoR again soon — but projections are unlikely to have brightened to the point that cash flow is no longer an intermediate-term concern.

However: Add $5.3 million in cash to the revenue side, courtesy of Adidas, and suddenly a level of flexibility appears … suddenly, there’s a cushion.

There’s cash to throw at the debt service and to support escalating coaching staff salaries and offset hiccups in conference distributions — the conference will feel the twinge from its …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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