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claiming the cougs

I didn’t go to Washington State University and I didn’t go to the University of Washington. So technically, I’m not a Cougar nor am I Husky. For the record, I’m actually a Torero; I went to the University of San Diego (I know, lame mascot).

I don’t hate the Huskies or anything crazy like that; many of my close friends are Huskies. In fact, until a couple years ago I was completely neutral on the topic. But there have been a few turning points, and I’m no longer neutral.

The first whammy against UW occurred when they stopped their Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) with Washington Community Colleges. This program guarantees transferred credits and enrollment at any state university for residents completing their associate’s degree and earning a 2.75 GPA at a Washington Community College. It’s an important program for students who can’t afford a 4-year university. UW discontinued the DTA in 2004 and they are the only state university in Washington that has eliminated this program. They claimed it was due to over-enrollment so instead of increasing the GPA requirement, they eliminated the program all together. They would rather enroll students who will pay tuition for 4-5 years. This decision was socially irresponsible and it discriminates against low-income and minority students.

The second whammy against UW was their recent request for $150 million from King County taxpayers to renovate their stadium. This request is ludicrous. Why would we spend public funds on this? Traditionally, university stadiums have not been funded by taxes. Why start now? Can’t think of anything better to do with $150 million? Uh, I don’t think so. WSU is currently undergoing a similar renovation to their football stadium. The Martin Stadium renovation is estimated at $70 million and is being funded by student fees, extra fees on tickets, donations and income from leases on new suites and premium suites. The way it should be.

The last whammy against UW isn’t actually a whammy against UW, but rather a bonus for WSU. I admire the camaraderie and solidarity that I see between Coug fans. WSU has half the enrollment of UW – so naturally they are going to have fewer fans – but their fans are fierce! Cougs are hardcore fans for life. It probably has to do with being stuck in Pullman for years with nothing else to do. There is something about rooting for the underdog that makes me embrace WSU.

And so, I’m publicly claiming the Cougs!

a blog for anyone, but mostly for me.