North Texas Daily

UNT’s proposed athletic fee should seek donors, not students’ pockets

UNT’s proposed athletic fee should seek donors, not students’ pockets

UNT’s proposed athletic fee should seek donors, not students’ pockets
February 15
00:09 2018

UNT students are voting Tuesday through Thursday on a referendum that would increase UNT’s intercollegiate athletics fee from $10 – not including about $2 which athletics receives from the student services fee — to $16.25 per credit hour.

While there is disagreement on whether there should or shouldn’t be additional funding to athletics, the information the athletics department has shared does not present the entire picture.

The athletics department is quick to advertise the $4.25 per credit hour increase. While this figure is truthful, its presentation is deceptive. 

$4.25 per credit hour, when expanded, tells a different story than those in support would lead you to believe.

Assuming the required 120 credit hours to earn a bachelor’s degree, this amounts to a $750 increase overall over the course of a student’s undergraduate career. (16.25 x 120 hours = $1,950; students pay $1,200 under the current athletic fee system.)

According to The Institute for College Access and Success, the proportion of indebted 2016 graduates from UNT is 63 percent with an average of $25,249 of student loan debt. Students simply can not afford to take on an additional $750 of debt.

The athletics department has also failed to provide a detailed plan of how the money is intended to be spent. 

The athletics website advertises that the $3.5 million investment from students will give money to general public relations, travel budget, spirit and student organizations.

That means $200,000 allocated in total for the Green Brigade, 31 club sports, recreational sports, cheer, dance and more.

What about the other $3.3 million estimated to be raised annually by the increase in fees? Why does the athletic department refrain from providing a financial rundown for the students who would pay the fees that support them?

The university expects students to vote on a referendum for which little information is being made public and for which little information may even exist. As investors in the UNT system, students deserve more accountability from this public institution. Baker expects students to have blind faith based on victories by the football team.

While it should be said that the athletics department should receive more funding, there are surely more cost-friendly alternatives.

In fact, maybe the athletics department should take note from the College of Music.

According to a UNT news release, in 1998, Bill and Margot Winspear donated $2 million (more than $3 million in 2018 when adjusted for inflation) to complete a theater inside of the Murchison Performing Arts Center. 

While athletics’ marketing for this referendum may be misleading, athletics should still try to raise money for what they need to build up the program and make it successful. Building better corporate partnerships and relationships with donors could be more beneficial than asking students to open their wallets a little wider. 

$4.25 sounds like an average drink at Starbucks. But just like buying 120 coffees, it all adds up in the end.

Students can make their decision here.

Featured illustration by Austin Banzon.

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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