The university’s handling of spectator parking at the Mill Street lot for the Texas Tech football game added insult to injury for students caught in the day’s chaos.
Not satisfied with $105 for each purple permit, Texas State chose to charge an additional $10 to park in the commuter perimeter lot around Bobcat Village on the day of the Tech game. In doing so, the university ignored the fact that those with commuter permits clearly already paid for parking as well as the mandatory athletics fee. Charging commuters extra to park in their own lot is not typical Texas State game day procedure, though the traffic and parking regulations say additional fees may apply at certain times. Springing the new rule on students during an already hectic day was unfair.
The $10 fee is not unreasonable for college game day parking in the Mill Street lot near Bobcat Stadium. Tech fans in attendance were likely accustomed to paying much more for parking at other universities on their football schedule. Charging those without a permit to use conveniently located spaces is to be expected. However, students with commuter passes have already paid their dues and deserve full usage of their spaces, especially when they come to support Texas State’s football team.
No students were affected quite as unfairly as those living in Bobcat Village. Residents were sent an email the night before explaining that if they left the apartment complex in their car during the game, they would not be allowed back into the silver permit zone. If residents left, they would be forced to pay the $10 to park in the surrounding commuter area. This effectively told students they could not leave their apartments, despite paying $245 for a silver permit.
Officials with the University Police Department and Parking Services vigorously enforced these rules when they surely could have found more productive uses of their time during the chaotic day. The university put quick and easy money ahead of the rights of students, who already paid $245 for silver permits. These backward priorities are nothing short of shameful, especially after the increase in parking permit fees this year.
Fortunately, the Associated Student Government recognized the problem and used its pull with the administration to fix the issue. With any hope, students can expect more reasonable parking restrictions in future games. It is doubtful, however, that any other home game on Texas State’s schedule will demand as many spaces as the Tech game did. At the very least, Bobcat Village residents might not be barred from entering their own apartment complex without an extra fee next time.
Football games, especially ones as large as the one against Tech, are a valuable asset for the university. They are full of opportunities to monetize school spirit, including concession, merchandise and ticket sales. University officials’ looking for ways to capitalize on game attendance is not surprising or wrong. It is essential if the university hopes to keep pace with other major athletic programs across the country.
But, surprising students with fees for parking spaces they already paid for is a dishonest cheap-shot that runs contrary to Texas State athletics’ policy of free home game attendance for students. There are plenty of opportunities to make money off students at football games, but the university should not have forced it out of them—especially when they already paid for a parking space.