Students weigh in on athletic fee alternatives

By Gus Bode

Although students don’t pay at the door for athletic events, they have already indirectly purchased their ticket.

Every SIU student is required to pay an athletic fee of $292 that is factored into his or her tuition each semester.  In 2010, athletic student fees accounted for more than $9 million, according to the athletic department website. Students question if they should have to pay for sporting events they don’t attend.

Executive Assoicate Athletic Director Mark Scally said the athletic fee is mandatory for all students. He said the fee supports the entire athletic department from services at the Recreation Center, intramural sports, and the SalukiWay project. Kimberly Woods, a junior  from West Frankfort studying English, said she thinks the fee could be put to better use.

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“I just don’t have any desire to go to the games on campus, I don’t know any players on the team and I’m not that invested in sports,” Woods said.

Woods, a commuter student, said because she is only on-campus during class, there is even less of an incentive to pay the fee.  Woods said the ability to apply the fee to a different department, or being able to opt out of the fee altogether would be a preferred alternative.

Timothy Dillon, a junior from South Elgin studying advertising, said he doesn’t see a problem in paying an athletic fee. Instead he said its convenient for him to get into the games without paying upfront. Dillon said although its nice not to pay cash for game entry, it may make students unaware the athletic fee exists.

Fatima Diabate, a junior at the University of Illinois from Elgin, said students at U of I are expected to pay for tickets to each game.

“I go to a Big Ten school and sports are a big deal,” Diabate said. “They generate a lot of money for the school and it makes sense that we have to pay to see teams that are nationally recognized.”

Rebecca French, a senior at the University of Iowa from South Elgin, said she also has to pay for tickets to each sporting event and  has mixed feelings about it.While she said she thinks it is reasonable to pay for football tickets, she is not willing to pay for other sports.

“I would never buy tickets for sports that are not as popular, like our basketball team, which is not very good. But there are other options like a half season ticket package that the school offers,” she said.

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Dillon said ultimately it came down to how the teams perform at their respective sports.

“Nobody is going to pay a lot of money to see losing teams,” Dillon said.

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