Battle of the Palouse Set For Aug. 30

March 3, 2001

PULLMAN, Wash. -- - College football in the Palouse will get an early start next fall with the announcement Washington State and Idaho will kick off their respective 2001 gridiron seasons against each other Thursday, August 30, at WSU's Martin Stadium.

The two schools agreed to try the Thursday concept prior to Labor Day Weekend in hopes of avoiding the traditional attendance lag that both teams have experienced the opening weekend of September.

'Playing Thursday at 7:00 p.m. gives both schools the opportunity to involve our student bodies in special events in conjunction with the game,' offered WSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk. 'Historically the Labor Day weekend games have been the below average in attendance, especially since the holiday allows both student bodies and the general public an extended three-day vacation.'

As an added bonus,' Sterk added, 'FOX (Sports Net) television in Seattle is very excited about telecasting the game live, so our fans who can't make it to Pullman will be able to catch the action.'

'Scheduling the WSU-Idaho game prior to Labor Day weekend gives the two institutions the incentive to create a 'special' Thursday event,' Sterk suggested. 'The feedback we have received about creating something special with this opportunity has been very positive. I would say 90 percent of the feedback has been favorable.'

'I know the Cougar football team is excited about playing Idaho Thursday,' 12-year WSU head coach Mike Price commented. 'I think the game will draw more fans than if we played Saturday. It means a lot to our players that the WSU students will be here before they leave for the long weekend. By playing Thursday the fans can still enjoy a three-day weekend after watching the Cougars and Vandals lay it on the line in the opener.'

'Opening the college football season Thursday on FOX TV is an excellent opportunity for regional and national coverage for the Battle of the Palouse and for the University of Idaho,' Vandal Athletic Director Mike Bohn said. 'We're very excited to give our fans and student body this chance to be a part of the pageantry associated with a rivalry prior to the Labor Day weekend.'

Vandal football coach Tom Cable echoed Price's enthusiasm. 'This is a great way for us to kickoff the 2001 football season. Not only is it a great rivalry game to start the year, but hundreds of thousands of football fans will be able to see us play on FOX TV. An added bonus is our student body and fans can see the Vandals play before they take off to enjoy the Labor Day holiday,' added Cable.

WSU's six-game home schedule will include a visit from the Colorado Buffaloes and four Pacific-10 Conference teams, in addition to the annual Battle of the Palouse with Idaho. WSU will host California, Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA in key conference match-ups. With the exception of the season opener against Idaho, Cougar home games will begin at 2:00 p.m., unless adjusted for live televised games.

Colorado's trip to Pullman will be its first in five games with WSU. Three of the games with Colorado have been played in Boulder, including the last meeting in 1996, while in 1982 WSU hosted the Buffaloes in Spokane.

'I am delighted we have the opportunity to play a team of Colorado's caliber in Pullman,' Price said. 'It is hard to imagine a better home schedule for our team and the fans, with both Oregon schools, UCLA and California in Pullman. I believe most of the polls will have three of those schools, UCLA, Oregon and Oregon State, among contenders for the Pac-10 championship. Colorado is always ranked as one of the better Big 12 schools and Idaho will be one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt Conference next fall.'

Washington State football tickets went on sale this week, with the six-game season reserve package priced at $129. WSU's family plan ticket is $185 for the season and allows up to two adults and two children entrance to the Cougar games. Single game reserve seats are $25 for the Idaho and Colorado games and $20 for California, Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA.

'For the first time in several years, WSU is instituting a $5 surcharge on non-conference football games,' Sterk said. 'The surcharge will help us build a Facilities Development Fund that can be used to enhance our athletic venues,' he explained.

'It is imperative we develop a funding base to improve our facilities like, Martin Stadium, and this will allow us to begin the process,' according to the WSU athletic director. 'I know some of our fans will say this is not the time to increase prices, but there is never a 'right' time. We live year to year with a budget that doesn't have extra funds available for major improvements. While the annual surcharge will not raise all of the funds we need to improve facilities, it will give us a start.'

A new seating option will be added to Martin Stadium for the 2001 season with the addition of Cougar Suite Seats in the east end zone of the stadium. WSU installed a suite for the Apple Cup game last season and because of the overwhelming positive feedback, the decision was made to introduce the suite seats for the 2001 season.

Cougar Suite Seats season prices, including game tickets, are $1,479 per seat inside the suite and $804 per seat on the observation deck. Suite Seat holders will be entitled to preferred parking, pre-game tent passes, free food and beverage service inside the suite, complimentary game programs and half-time statistics In addition Suite Seat holders will be invited to a special fall luncheon with Cougar head coach Mike Price.

In addition to the Suite Seats, WSU will introduce a new pre-game feature for home football games, the Cougar Fan Fair. Coug fans will have the opportunity to purchase season passes and individual game passes to pre-game tent parties featuring food and beverage service, as well as live entertainment. Cougar Fan Fair will be held on the Rogers Practice Field west of Martin Stadium and will open two and one-half hours before kickoff. Hollingbery Fieldhouse will return as the pre-game headquarters open to the general public.

WSU's ticket office will mail out season ticket renewal forms in late March to all Cougar Athletic Foundation (CAF) members and season ticket holders, according to Sterk, who said the deadline for renewal orders is May 1. In addition, CAF members and season ticket holders have until May 1 to order Apple Cup tickets to the Cougar game at Washington. Approximately 2,200 tickets will be made available for purchase to CAF members prior to the May 1 deadline with a limit of four tickets per CAF member or season ticket holder. Approximately 900 Apple Cup tickets will go on sale May 15 to the general public, with a limit of four tickets per purchase.

WSU 2001 Football Schedule: Aug. 30 - WSU vs. Idaho, 7:00 p.m., Sept. 8 - WSU at Boise, Sept. 15 - WSU vs. Colorado, Sept. 22 - WSU vs. California (Future Cougar Day, Band Day, Armed Forces Day), Sept. 29 - WSU at Arizona, Oct. 6 - WSU vs. Oregon State (Homecoming), Oct. 13 - WSU at Stanford, Oct. 27 - WSU vs. Oregon, Nov. 3 - WSU vs. UCLA (Dads' Day), Nov. 10 - WSU at Arizona State, Nov. 17 - WSU at Washington.

WSU Season Tickets - $129/reserve seat
WSU Season Family Plan - $185 for up to two adults and two youth (additional season youth tickets are $34 each)
Cougar Suite Seats (inside) - $1,479
Cougar Suite Seats (observation deck) - $804
Single Game Reserve - $25 each for Idaho and Colorado (includes a $5 surcharge)
Single Game Reserve - $20 each for California, Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA
Single Game General Admission, Adult - $15 each for Idaho and Colorado, $10 each for California, Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA
Single Game GA, Youth - $7 each for Idaho and Colorado, $5 each for California, Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA
Single Game GA, Family Plan - $30 each for Idaho and Colorado, $25 each for California, Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA
WSU 2-Pack - $35 for reserve seats to Idaho/Oregon or Colorado/Oregon State
WSU Students W/O Sports Pass - $10 each game
WSU Student Guests - $14 for each game except Dads' Day (UCLA)
WSU Student Guests - $20 for Dads' Day (UCLA)
Season Ticket Renewal Deadline - May 1
Deadline for Priority Apple Cup orders - May 1

Ticket Information - WSU Ticket Office, 509-335-9626, or 800-GO-COUGS, Option 3.Cougar Suite Seats - Call Kim Wetzel, 509-335-2432.

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