Senator: WWU Football Like Wisteria Plant

The state legislature couldn't or wouldn't save our Sonics. Might they save our Vikings?

Both the House and the Senate introduced bills this week to create a task force to reinstate Western Washington University's football program, which was cut by the school's new president, Bruce Shepard, because of a budget deficit.

It's an unusual sports-in-the-legislature story because, unlike with the Sonics or Huskies, no one's getting rich off of this team. And no one's asking for public funding either.

Sen. Ken Jacobsen--whose aide, Soren Paulson, played one year for the team--introduced the Senate bill.

"I thought it deserved another look," he explains, adding that he's

been impressed by private efforts to fund the team. Supporters have set up a fundraising website--Shepard has said the team needs $10 million to be viable--and visited Olympia for a demonstration).

"What really wowed me is they got half a million in

pledges. And another guy is gonna match that half-million."

"It's like the wisteria plant. You chop the roots off around the

wisteria plant, and all of a sudden it blooms. There's nothing like

clear and

present danger to galvanize supporters."

On the bill's chances of passage, Jacobsen says, "I'm not sure. I think

the whole idea's gonna get a second look. With over a hundred-year

tradition, it'd be a shame to dump it. But in the end, they have to

deliver. Either they can put their money where their mouth is or the

president was right."

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