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WSU Cougar Football Facing Challenges On And Off The Field

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Washington State head coach Mike Leach, right, talks to quarterback Luke Falk in the first half during an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz.

There was a lot of news this week about Washington State University and its massive annual operating deficit, in large part due to the costs associated with remodeling their football stadium.

The football program also saw issues on the field last week. Cougar head coach Mike Leach removed starting quarterback Luke Falk, who is poised to break multiple Pac-12 all-time passing records, from the game twice Saturday. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked about football on and off the field in Pullman.

Thiel says while Falk is set to break several records, he did perform poorly in the game. But Leach has a history of being tight-lipped about player injuries, so it’s uncertain if it was simply a bad game for Falk or something bigger.

Thiel says Leach is great for sound bites, but those sound bites are rarely about football. That means people outside of the organization (and even some people within the organization) have little-to-no knowledge about what really goes on on behind the curtain.

One reason WSU faces such a huge budget deficit following its stadium remodel is that it's the smallest college in the Pac-12.  Thiel says the university is forced to do more with less to keep up with bigger schools.

Additionally, he says television revenues haven’t been what Washington State has hoped. That could lead to WSU cutting corners and getting creative to balance the budget.

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Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.