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Originally published December 1, 2013 at 5:30 AM | Page modified December 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM

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Finally, a way for Dawgs, Cougs to lead the nation

The Wrap by Ron Judd


Seattle Times staff columnist

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"thinking:" Money "raised" by the athletic department is public... MORE
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It really boils down to a storage problem.

What to do with all those truckloads of cash rolling into the athletic departments of the state’s two prestigious research institutions?

You can, as Husky nation already has, shovel a lot of it into opulent Jock Facilities, and launder the rest through exorbitant coaching contracts.

But sooner or later, you’re going to run out of places to store it. Steve Sarkisian might be the state’s most valuable employee, but even he can only drive so many Benzes at a time.

The time is ripe for university regents to walk the talk about big-bucks college sports programs being all about enhancing the educational experience. A start: Set aside 10 percent of all future athletic-department revenue to buy tuition waivers for blue-chip student non-athletes.

The vast majority of this would be TV money, which already is rolling in to both schools in excess of $20 million annually — and could soon balloon to twice that with the insidious new cash-cow “Pac-12 Networks.”

Do the math: In-state tuition at the University of Washington is about $11,000. A tenth of the TV cash already in this year’s pot would provide nearly 200 tuition waivers.

A measly 10 percent. Athletic directors can think of it as a minimal tithe to whatever gods they should be thanking daily for their professional existence.

Call it the “Pac-12 Pledge,” and challenge all other conference schools to match. It’s a way to get out in front of legitimate public twitching over the insane imbalance between sport and nonsport finances — and perhaps engender a public buy-in to said nonsense.

The time has come to stop chasing the tail of conscience-bereft privateers like Phil Knight and start leading the nation by example.

A lousy 10 percent. A win-win-win-win-win. Just do it.

More turkey burps:

Speaking of Bloated Contracts: Sark doesn’t seem to be responding too well to the carrot of extra pay for winning a conference championship. How about a stick-based provision where he loses a half-million for failing to cover the spread in the Apple Cup?

If Only They Had Explained This Earlier: Italian prosecutors (obviously not subject to drug testing) spent 10 hours unveiling a brilliant new theory that Seattle she-devil Amanda Knox was motivated to slay her roommate by a squabble over housework, exacerbated by the real killer’s refusal to flush a toilet.

Important Italian Revision to Old Water-Saving Adage: If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, kill your roommate.

Meanwhile, in Kirkland: Say what you will about Pete “See No Evil” Carroll. Mr. Wrap thinks it’s pretty cool he gave the Seahawks part of Thanksgiving week off to spend more quality time with their dealers.

Relationship Headline of the Week: From UniversityHerald.com: “Male Worms and Flies Proven to Shorten Female Counterpart’s Lifespan; Does it Apply to Mammals?”

Happy Holiday Thought: Another great Thanksgiving for most of us, honoring the American traditions of turkey, football, family and televised violence inside and outside Wal-Mart.

And Finally: Mr. Wrap is compiling his annual “Feats of Clay” awards, bestowed upon newsmakers exhibiting a distinguished lack of valor, for publication at month’s end. Send your nominees to the email address below.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at rjudd@seattletimes.com or 206-464-8280.



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