Huskies hope to break even financially on Holiday Bowl
Washington won't make any money after paying Holiday Bowl expenses that include travel costs for the team and band. But UW will make more bowl money than expected this year, with two Pac-10 teams playing in BCS bowls.
Seattle Times staff reporter
UW vs. Nebraska, 7 p.m., ESPN
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The Washington Huskies are going to rake in a little more bowl game money this year than they have in the past.
But it's not really for the reason many might expect.
Washington is preparing for its first bowl game since 2002 — a Dec. 30 date against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego — for which it will be paid $2.2 million. That's the listed payout per team from the bowl.
But that check, like any earned by a Pac-10 team in a bowl, is sent to the conference and split evenly with every other school as part of the conference's revenue-sharing plan, minus expenses for the participating team.
That means UW will get no more for this Holiday Bowl appearance than it did any of the past seven years, when it spent the holidays at home.
What has UW enjoying a little more money is that Stanford went 11-1 to earn the conference a second spot in the Bowl Championship Series, games that pay as much as $18 million. Oregon will play in the national title game while Stanford is in the Orange Bowl.
That will mean an added $250,000 to $400,000 for UW and every other Pac-10 school, depending on the final accounting.
"Because we have another team in the BCS we are going to do a little better this year than we have in years past," said UW athletic director Scott Woodward.
As far as the Holiday Bowl, UW's goal is to break even.
The school was awarded $1,093,100 for expenses, money it's free to spend how it wishes to house, feed and prepare the football team and its traveling party for the game.
The biggest expense, Woodward says, is housing. The team will travel to San Diego on Dec. 23 (the bowls require teams to arrive by a prearranged date).
Washington has to pay rent for the field at which it will practice (the University of San Diego), as well as meals for players.
Washington also will pay for its full band to make the trip; the Huskies have been allocated a traveling party of 500 for the team and band.
And in what is one of the newer expenses for bowl teams, schools are allowed to spend up to $350 on a "bowl gift" for all players.
Woodward says the general goal is to be as conservative as possible.
"We understand these are tough economic times and everyone is suffering," he said. "We want to be as frugal as we can be."
But Woodward says the bowl gifts are one area where the school will be "liberal" with how it spends its money "because we want to reward" the players. "It's a celebration of a season and a job well done," he said, adding the trick is to "walk that fine balance" between being frugal and extravagant.
In terms of the rewards for the players, there is also the future to think about — how schools treat their players can factor into recruiting battles down the road. (As of early this week, UW had not decided on its bowl gift, Woodward said).
Players also receive separate gifts from the bowls, up to $500 total, per NCAA rules. The Holiday Bowl is awarding a Best Buy gift card, a Fossil watch and a hooded sweatshirt and cap to each player.
Getting to a bowl also means that UW has to pay coach Steve Sarkisian a $150,000 bonus and each of the nine assistants either $8,000 or $10,000.
The hope is that the long-term financial rewards of getting to a bowl — such as increased ticket sales the following season and better (and better-paying) TV appearances — will mean a net positive down the road.
And if they break even, the Huskies will apparently fare better than Nebraska. A report in The Lincoln Star-Journal this week said the Cornhuskers expect to lose money on the Holiday Bowl, in part because they plan to take their band this year, something they didn't do last year when a storm prevented the band from leaving town.
UW, WSU add JC players
The Huskies signed linebacker Thomas Tutogi of Chula Vista, Calif. He played last season at Southwestern JC and will arrive at UW with three years of eligibility.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder figures to compete for the linebacking spot that will be vacated by senior Mason Foster, who led the Pac-10 in tackles this season.
Tutogi, who also reportedly had offers from USC and UNLV, is expected to enroll in January, making him available for spring practice.
Two junior-college offensive linemen have signed with Washington State.
Rico Forbes, a 6-4, 260-pound Bahamian native who signed a letter with Baylor two years ago, helped Navarro (Texas) JC to the NJCAA national title. Taylor Meighen, a 6-3, 285-pound center from Kilgore (Texas) JC, is expected to join Forbes in enrolling in January in time for spring practice.
WSU coach Paul Wulff called Forbes "a very athletic, bright" prospect with "a great upside." Wulff said Meighen would add "toughness" and leadership to the Cougars.
Cougfan.com reported that 6-6, 270-pound defensive-line prospect Demetrius Cherry of Frostproof, Fla., and Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy has committed to WSU. A nonqualifier out of high school, he attended prep school and hopes to enroll in January.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Times staff reporter Bud Withers contributed to this article.