Bill Moos was the Athletic Director at Washington State University for seven years. Moos, a former offensive lineman for the Cougars, was adored by WSU. He surprised the entire community when he came out of retirement to work for WSU in 2010. He surprised them even more when he unceremoniously left for Nebraska in October of 2017.
Upon returning to his alma mater, Moos inherited the Pac-12 runt. Under Paul Wulff’s lead, the football program was sinking faster than the titanic; meanwhile, Tony Bennett had just skipped town to coach hoops in Charlottesville. Outside of a respectable baseball program, Klay Thompson may have been the only asset Moos looked forward to meeting upon his homecoming to the Palouse.
Bill Moos is widely regarded as an incredible Athletic Director and his track recording dating back to his days at Montana and Oregon speaks for itself. However, after Moos’ seven years with Washington State it is becoming increasingly more evident that his work was far from perfect. Since his departure, a barrage of scandals and mismanagement in the athletic department have become public.
An audit of the athletic department took place in April earlier this year. The focus surrounded the distribution of tickets to a home football game against the Arizona Wildcats in 2016. Several tickets were given away for free but management could not correctly identify who exactly received these tickets; this is potentially a violation of NCAA regulations. To make matters worse, the athletic department declared that game a sellout while only 26,000 tickets were scanned at the gates (nearly 7,000 empty seats). A similar instance was uncovered during the Apple Cup against Washington later that year.
Moos claims that padding attendance numbers is common practice, but the everyone else is doing it argument has never held ground in my experience. The audit continued to find that special discounts on premium tickets were given to members within the administration and said discounts were not available to the public. Moreover, half of the tickets illegally given at discount were not even paid for in full.
It was also discovered that WSU’s contract with broadcasting partner IMG was incorrectly managed and amended. Some of the contract amendments were reported to be verbal agreements by staff as oppose to written word.
At the audits conclusion it was stated that, “The environment within athletics did not support a culture of compliance or fiscal responsibility.” While Moos insists he has done nothing wrong, the results of the audit are disheartening.
Pat Chun has since been hired to replace Moos as WSU’s new AD. Chun is currently working to restructure WSU Athletics to align with NCAA regulations from top to bottom. The university responded to the audit by claiming they are already making steps toward a solution.
Audit aside, Moos was not free of blemish. He wildly botched the contract of men’s head basketball coach Ernie Kent. Paying Kent $1.4 million annually until 2022 to lead a program that cannot even win a third of their games is a less than stellar return on investment. Extending and raising Kent’s contract several times is a move no one seems to fully comprehend. While the athletic department is operating at a $67 million deficit, firing Kent is out of the picture as Moos guaranteed him a multi-million-dollar buyout clause.
On the flipside, Moos did a brilliant job given what he had at the time. He got Washington State football back on track, renovated Martin Stadium, hired Mike Leach and ultimately established a winning culture. For that he must be commended but not excused. While Moos may have cleaned up the mess he was given in 2010, it does not change that fact that he failed to pick up after himself upon his exit in 2017. To Husker fans thinking, “Who cares? We got Scott Frost!” I tell you this: beware. Perhaps Bill Moos is more interested in making a buck than he is in correctly running an athletic department.