Athletic Fees Could Increase To Improve Game Day

A proposal to raise the athletic tuition fee for Texas Tech students could make its way onto billing statements as soon as Fall 2018.

The Student Athletic Fee Committee, comprised of five students and four administrative staff members, are discussing a future increase of the fee $12.80, from $57.20 to $70 per semester. Since becoming a tuition fee in 2002, it has gone up just $7.20.

Since the last time the athletic fee was increased in 2012, the student population has seen a 13.9 percent increase. A bump to $70 would mean a 22.4 percent increase, where the fee had previously seen a total increase of 14.4 percent over the last 16 years.

Next fall, Texas Tech’s athletic fee could see its biggest increase yet.

Jonathan Botros, senior associate athletic director for finance and administration, said the increased revenue would go directly to improving the environment for students.

“The current student athletic fee generates roughly 3.2 million dollars for the athletic department,” Botros said, “which a significant portion comes back around to students and fans.”

He said increasing the fee would contribute around $700,000 in additional revenue for the athletic department.

The new, state-of-the-art scoreboard inside United Supermarkets Area, which got the attention of University of Texas at Austin officials when they visited last year, was funded in part by the student athletic fee.

The five-person student committee, hand-selected by Student Body President Robert Meyer, met with administration last month and concluded raising the fee was in the best interest of the students.

Meyer said he hopes to hold a student vote on the homecoming ballot to gauge support level for a potential increase. The more students who endorse it, he said, the more likely the cost will go up.

“We need student backing,” Meyer said. “I’m not going to make a decision as one person say 37,000 people support it because I don’t know that.”

Meyer said students can call the admissions office to waive their athletic fee if they don’t plan on attending any Tech sporting event.

According to the NCAA’s financial records, at $57.20, Tech students have the lowest cost to attend all school sporting events among the eight public universities in Texas. Botros said an analysis of the student athletic fee was valued between $850 to $1300, depending on where the Tech student sits at sporting events.

Because of space limitations in the Jones AT&T Stadium and at other locations, every student could not use free admission to games simultaneously.

But, the last two football seasons have had plenty of room in the Jones because student attendance has averaged below nine thousand each game. This is less than one fourth of the student population.

The next closest Texas school athletic fee is the University of North Texas at $165 per semester. Texas State, a university comparable in enrollment to Tech, charges $300 while students at the University of Texas at San Antonio pay $240, according to NCAA records and the Texas Tribune.

Photo by Abigail Aldrich.

Students at the University of Texas and Texas A&M do not pay an athletic fee, but pay for tickets to all sporting events separate from tuition at $175 and $290, respectively, according to each school’s website.

Meyer said Chief Financial Officer Noel Sloan does an excellent job keeping the price point low as well as donors know college students’ strife with their finances.

“[Donors] have been college students before and understand the struggle with money,” Meyer said. “$50 for one student could be chump change whereas $50 for another student is five, 10, or 20 meals.”

Should the proposal pass, Botros, who started working for the athletic department in 2010, said the administration will turn its attention to adding Wi-Fi and phone charging stations inside The Jones AT&T Stadium.

Botros said the athletic department is inquiring about what Wi-Fi at The Jones might cost. He said the number reported to implement internet into Texas A&M’s Kyle Field was roughly $13 million in 2015.

The Jones is about 60 percent the size of Kyle Field, so Tech could end up paying in the single-digit millions.

Regardless of price, Meyer said Wi-Fi at football games is now a requirement for students today and Tech will have it in the not-too-distant future.

“It’s a student need,” Meyer said. “We’re going to have it in the next 5-6-7 years because if we don’t, we’re going to be so far behind the curve that it’ll hurt us.”

Meyer said both he and Botros agree on the need for Wi-Fi.

Former Daily Texan reporter Peter Sblendorio said the Wi-Fi installed at Texas’ Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin prior to this season has greatly enhanced the in-game experience, allowing him to checks scores of other games and stay in touch with friends.

Even with the discussed increase, Tech has the lowest per student to attend sporting events at a Texas public university.

Jonah Tuls, a junior journalism major, said the athletic fee is one not many students are aware of. He said he believes the stadium is in desperate need of Wi-Fi, given how difficult it is to get a connection.

Tuls said he is not keen on charging his phone at the game as it could create a theft issue as well as disrupt the game-watching experience.

“I would only use it if they were in seats, not in the concession area.” Tuls said in a phone interview. “This could result in a lot of misplaced or stolen phones, which would not look good on the university.”

Botros said charging stations would likely feature individual lockers to store phones, but those plans are the early stages.

With both potential additions, his goal is to keep students at the game longer. The cell phone is a major part of the game day experience and he said students have stated they frequently leave the game around halftime because their cell phone is on the verge of dying.

Meyer said he will meet with Sloan early next month to weigh the pros and cons of increasing the fee before it is presented to the Board of Regents in December.

If it passes, this would the first time the student athletic has been increased in six years.

“The new scoreboard was a really big deal for us because ours was outdated and now, it’s taking us back to that top tier where our athletics are second to none.”

About Travis Bremner

Travis is the sports reporter for The Hub@TTU. He is graduating from Texas Tech University in December with a degree in media strategies. His passions include fitness, writing, the Dave Matthews Band.

Comments

  1. Lynette Weel says:

    Great article and the upgrades and changes – primarily wifi are necessary in the world today. The increase is minimal and still remains lower than most of the other Universities in Texas.

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