Students divided on athletic fee budget

In fall of 2011, UNA added an athletic fee of $2 per credit hour to full-time students’ tuition. Prior to this year, the fee was $12 per academic year.

The main item the athletic fee pays for is the student benefits package, said Mark Linder, UNA athletic director. Some things the package includes are in-game promotions, giveaways and free concession items for students.

“It was instituted initially in order to make sure that we had the resources available to create an atmosphere around our games, therefore trying to draw students to these events,” Linder said.

The proposed athletic fee budget is made up of $65,900 split up into the following categories.

$42,000 is reserved for supplies, gift cards and promotional items; $1,100 for maintenance of the CBORD swipe-card machines; $2,000 for the most valuable fan award; $17,000 for contracted services, such as bands; $500 for student tickets at away games; $500 for printing costs; $1,300 for free concessions; and $1,500 for travel and transportation.

“I think every sport has seen an increase in student involvement, which is really neat because it means a lot to our student athletes when they’re out there playing and they see the student body,” Linder said.

Parker Hendricks, a senior physical education sports management major at UNA, currently works for the athletic department. He is in charge of spending the athletic fee money on UNA student incentives.

“What I spend can only go to students,” he said.

Hendricks is in charge of ordering T-shirts and promotional items, and he has been planning student athletic events throughout the year. This year during fall break, he helped organize an international weekend for international students who were unable to go home for the break.

“I think the fee is a great thing,” he said. “It allows us to do a lot of things that a lot of Division II schools can’t do.”

Some students disagree with Hendricks.

“I didn’t choose UNA for their athletics program, so I don’t feel that it is fair,” said Jenni Powell, a UNA junior entertainment industry major. “I realize it isn’t a large sum of money, but it’s more that I have to pay it.”

Powell said she is not interested in sports and would rather her $2 per credit hour go toward the arts on campus. However, she appreciates knowing the fee goes back to the students.

Students like Hendricks think the fee is a reasonable one.

“I know a lot of people were against it at first, but if you look at it, it’s the lowest fee that we pay as students,” Hendricks said.

Check out next week’s paper for an overall athletic budget story.