Mar 102009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Monday the Student Fee Review board unanimously approved a $15 per semester student fee increase for athletics in the 2010 fiscal year that university administrators and directors said will improve athletic success and increase CSU’s national visibility.

Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk said he hopes the fee increase, which will bring the overall fee funding to $103.85 per semester for full-time, on-campus students, will improve the success of the athletic teams and in turn, attract attention to the campus.

“I truly believe that having a successful athletics department can benefit the university,” Kowalczyk said. “. I’ve seen it happen.”

Last year, the athletics department submitted an increase of the same amount, citing a $670,000 deficit that resulted from two years of coach buyouts, including former head football coach Sonny Lubick.

Kowalczyk said that was not the case in 2009 and that the department saw a small surplus accumulated over recent years and explained the money will be spent on current salaries and general expenses.

He said an improved athletics department as a result of the new fee would benefit the university three ways:

An increase in the number of applications to CSU, allowing the university to be more selective in the students it accepts.

Increased media exposure will attract national attention, potential applicants and donors and,

Provide a way to better connect with alumni.

Interim President Tony Frank, who supported Kowalczyk in his presentation to the SFRB, said he backed the request because CSU sits at the bottom of the Mountain West Conference in overall funding and the money is needed to increase the university’s “competitiveness.”

In light of a $12.1 million shortfall in fiscal year 2009 and looming budget cuts for FY2010, Frank said the university is in no position to increase funding to athletics.

“However, given the budget challenges we face, I’m not in a position to offer to correct the Athletics budget situation via any large general fund increases for next year, so I joined Athletics in requesting additional support from our students, but student funding alone won’t solve the situation nor would it be appropriate for students to carry the entire burden,” Frank said in an e-mail.

Student government Vice President and SFRB chair Quinn Girrens said while the board recognized the need for the increase, the student body wouldn’t at first.

“More students are going to be like ‘why do you need more money,'” she said, saying the SFRB will advertise all of the final student fee increases approved by the board and explanations of each decision later this semester.

Kowalczyk said students “have to look at (the increase) a little longer term.”

“It’s a better investment for the future because it makes the university more recognizable and then adds to the value of their degree.”

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

By the numbers

Spending facts (based on 07-08 MWC survey and university annual reports)

4.1 to 23.8

or 17 percent

Ratio of institutional support to total athletics revenue

24 to 780

or 3.1 percent

Ratio of Athletics expenses to university expenses

$410,000/year

compared with MWC average of $1 million/year: Institutional support for CSU

$2.4 million

Total CSU athletics revenue (including all 16 sports)

Athletics student fees (current and proposed)

$88.85/semester: Current athletic student fee for all full-time,

on-campus students

$103.85/semester: New athletic student fee approved for FY2010

Fast facts about CSU athletics spending

CSU ranks 8 out of 9 Mountain West Conference schools in spending per student-athlete

Other student fees (for 2008-2009 academic

school year)

$554.78: Total Fees Full-Time Student – students enrolled for 6 or more credits

$22.85: Associated Students of CSU (Supports ASCSU student administration and funding of student organizations.)

$111.57: Student Services? (Funds Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, and more.)

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