Editorial: Our athletic fee is one of the highest in the country… because of football?

We recently found out Georgia State’s athletic fee for students is one of the highest in the country, and second highest in the state. A study conducted shortly before football was introduced to the university found that there’d be no other way to support the new team other than to raise fees. And the university did, from around $300 to $557. Despite a statewide policy which said the athletic fee shouldn’t be as high as it currently is in our university.

Those defending the fee have excused the extra cash by saying all that the football team will do for Georgia State. President Becker attested to an increased school spirit since the team came about – a fact that can’t be verified since he’s talking about pre-2011 times. Others have defended the fee by speculating the future revenue football will bring to the institution. Because that’s what football does – bring tickets and fans in, who pay for the tickets, fan gear and food. Even if Georgia State football doesn’t exactly have a never-ending fan base, as of now – we can dream right?

But get this, a couple weeks ago The Signal reported on a lawsuit filed by undocumented students against the University System of Georgia (USG) after they were banned from attending the state’s top five universities. Why? Because USG’s policy state so. But isn’t it also USG policy that no more than 65 percent of student fees should go towards the athletic department? It is. And isn’t Georgia State currently 3 percent more than that cap? It is. So, in lack of a better word, there seems to be some kind of double standard about which policies Georgia State has to attend to, and which ones they can bluntly ignore.

Unless the point they’re making is that football is SO worth the money, because it will bring in SO much money, something that doesn’t exactly result in educating undocumented students. But will it bring in the money they’re promising it will?

It’s a fact that in order to make money, you sometimes have to invest money and take a risk – even if what you’re investing in isn’t immediately as fruitful as you hope. It’s a step that has to be taken in order to make money in most things. If we never invested money in things that did not offer immediate return, our businesses would never thrive.

Football is a high-maintenance sport and receives 25 percent of the athletic fee from students.  For advertising and making sure, it’s constantly progressing and the team is developing in order to compete with bigger teams. It would only make sense we devote our money and attention to the section of our university that’s struggling.

If it happened to be the journalism program, we’d hope the university would turn their attention to it and make the necessary changes, even if that required a fee spike (maybe not worth of $300 though). So here, let’s excuse Georgia State for making us spend over $1,000 per year, largely because of the new team they’re trying to support. But for how long?

What are your thoughts on this topic? Submit your Letters to the Editor to signalopinions@gmail.com

1 Comment

  1. The lack of proper fact-checking in this is very troubling. Any student can log in to their PantherPay account and see that the Athletic Fee per semester is $277. A student attending fall and spring semesters pays just $554 per academic year for this fee.

    Aside from that, I believe the author of this piece needs to understand the full impact that adding football has had on this university. Obviously the team hasn’t won a lot of games, but this same team has gotten the GSU brand on ESPN countless times, attracted more (and higher-quality) applicants to the university through helping create a more holistic college experience, and helped countless other areas of the university. Without football, there would be no marching band – the same marching band that put the GSU flame on over 22 million TVs on Thanksgiving 2 years ago when it went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Without football, there would be no Turner Field purchase. That land acquisition alone is going to do so much good for the university and the surrounding community. It is extremely short-sighted to be so negative toward a program that has only had a few years to make a name for itself at an intensely difficult level of competition.

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