North Texas Daily

Why you should vote yes to raising the student athletic fee

Why you should vote yes to raising the student athletic fee

December 05
11:34 2017

The record-breaking success from the fall sports programs at North Texas has been nice, but don’t let the rapid turnaround allow history to repeat itself.

After an extremely exciting period in 2013-2014 that included a Heart of Dallas Bowl win over the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, it wasn’t long before the athletic program was searching for a new athletic director and head coaches for two of its major teams throughout 2015 and the early part of 2016.

Fortunately, students have a chance to ensure the athletic department remains on the fast track to consistent success by partaking in this week’s vote at UNT.

Before you dismiss the idea of a small bump in annual tuition, take a second to consider the positive impact this measure will have on the North Texas student community.

The increase in fees is centered on a $6.25 increase in the school’s intercollegiate athletic fee and a $2.00 decrease in the student service fee, as reported by the North Texas Daily’s Sarah Sarder.

Entering the 2017-2018 school year, students paid an athletic fee of just $10 per credit hour. The Conference USA average was almost $23 and the Mean Green still managed to win conference championships in volleyball and soccer, and were the runner-up in football two years removed from a 1-11 season.

Florida Atlantic, which beat North Texas handily in the C-USA football championship game over the weekend, was operating on a student athletic fee of $17.27 per credit hour – more than 70 percent more than that of the Mean Green.

Athletic director Wren Baker, who took over the program in July 2016, has proven he can do more with less. But why hinder the growth of the department by continuing to underfund its athletes?

The increase will net $3.5 million in revenue for the athletic department, which will make a significant impact on the quality of facilities, the student-athlete experience and the atmosphere surrounding the game day experience.

$3.5 million will give North Texas the ability to be competitive in the facility arms race with opponents in Texas and C-USA.

$3.5 million will give North Texas the ability to make some noise on the recruiting trail, an area the program has specifically struggled in over the last few years. And if this administration can compete for conference championships on a budget that doesn’t measure up to schools in the conference, what could it do by just being in the ballpark?

It may be some time away, but this $3.5 million could also be the first step toward bringing a baseball program to UNT. Baker has mentioned baseball as something on his radar, and that’s something that should excite students.

Right now, students pay half of what students at UTSA and Texas State University pay when it comes to athletic fees. And to be honest, those two athletic programs certainly shouldn’t be the standard in regards to where North Texas can be.

Take the University of Houston, for example. The Cougars, who compete at a high level in the American Athletic Conference and standout as the model program for Group of Five schools in Texas, voted in favor of a student fee increase of $50 per semester back in 2012.

Speaking to football alone, Houston went from 5-7 in 2012 to 8-5 in 2013 before breaking through with a 13-1 record under former head coach Tom Herman in 2015. How much of that success was a result of the students’ willingness to approve an increase in athletic fees?

What the North Texas athletic department is asking for comes out to about an increase of $51 or $63.75 for full-time students, depending on whether students take 12 or 15 hours.

If the Mean Green can compete for conference championships across the board with less money, think of what the program can do – on the field and in recruiting – with a budget inching closer to its in-state counterparts.

Even after increasing the fee, students will pay 30 percent less than the average school in C-USA and 19 percent less than both Texas State and UTSA.

But for those against an increase in fees supporting just the athletes, fear not – the proposed change includes support of the band, cheer and dance squads, along with the other student organizations that enhance the atmosphere of sporting events throughout the year.

“We did more (for fans) this year than we ever had,” Baker said. “But we were doing probably a fourth of what I’d like to be doing. I’d love for us to be hosting concerts postgame or in the parking lot pregame.”

Near the beginning of the semester, Senior Sports Writer Matthew Brune wrote the athletic department had done its part winning games and called for students and fans to come out and support the Mean Green more consistently.

The students answered.

After setting a new attendance record in volleyball, setting an average attendance record in football and competing in three conference championships (two wins) in the fall alone, it’s time for students to answer the call again.

Only about 58 percent of Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election and it’s safe to say a significant portion of the other 42 percent regret abstaining. Don’t miss your chance to make an impact – albeit on a much smaller scale.

Vote ‘Yes’ today to increase your fees by $4.25 per credit hour and watch the student community at UNT reap the benefits.

Featured Image (File): North Texas football fans celebrate after North Texas scored a touchdown against the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Sept. 23 at Apogee Stadium. The attendance of the game was 20,142 Sara Carpenter

About Author

Brady Keane

Brady Keane

Brady Keane is the Sports Editor of the North Texas Daily. He previously served as Deputy Sports Editor (Jan. 2017-May 2017) and as a Staff Writer (Aug. 2015-May 2016).

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