Athletic fees remain firm

The proposal for student fee increases presented by the athletics department to USUAA Student Government was rejected. A resolution opposing the two-dollar increase to the Athletics/ Sports Complex fee was passed in a ten-to-one vote on Nov. 6.

The fee, equal to eight dollars per credit up to twelve credits this year, was proposed to increase to ten dollars per credit, that would have supplied the athletics department with $320,000 of additional income.

“The proposal did not adequately demonstrate a benefit to the students above what is currently offered,” USUAA Senator Peter Finn said.

The athletics department cited a current student sentiment about being severely underserved and a difficulty for students to use exercise and recreational equipment. The resolution passed by USUAA resolved a redirection of funds away from athletics and towards student recreation and fitness in order to compensate for this sentiment.

Tuition increases and lack of state based financial aid also played into the decision.

The Athletics’ Department also reasoned that they have received many complaints about locker usage.

“We thought it was a reasonable request,” Steve Cobb, Director of Athletics, said. “There hasn’t been an increase in the Athletics’ Department in a long time.”

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The resolution, sponsored by Speaker of the Assembly Ryan Buchholdt and Senator Allison Murell, questioned an increase in the fee, when the current one already more than covers what the department needs. One example was in athletic ticket costs. Of the $1.6 million the athletic department gets, $600,000 goes towards operations and the other million goes towards athletic tickets that allow students to get into games for free or a reduced cost. The resolution said that the athletic department has stated that the $1 million was beyond ticket usage, and that they used the additional funds for other areas of the athletic department’s operations.

It also stated that a question exists about whether or not students are getting their fees worth of services from the Athletics/ Sports Complex fee.

Cobb said the fee would have helped to offset financial troubles based on the current recession.

“We lost some sponsors in this economy,” Cobb said. “We are a lean organization, we will just have to make cuts in next year’s budget.”

The resolution also “encouraged the construction of a new Sports Arena and the conversion of the Wells Fargo Sports Complex into a proper student recreational facility.”

The fee increases proposed by Student Activities and Student Health and Counseling were approved by the Student Government last week.

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