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Students foot the bill for athletics


Texas State students pay the highest state athletic fees to maintain the athletic department that has one of the worst records in the state. Texas State football won CBS Sports’ 2016 Bottom 25 championship and student athletic fees, which help cover the debt the program builds, are the highest fee students pay aside from tuition.

The fee goes towards paying off the multimillion dollar deficit that the university athletics rack up annually. For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the mandated athletic fee for students is $300.

The athletic program spends over $30 million annually and lost more than $20 million during the 2014-15 fiscal year. It raises over $10 million in revenue and the $20 million debt leftover is paid off from the student athletic fee and university funds.

With reports filed by Texas State in 2016, the Texas Tribune documents that the athletic department at Texas State operated at a loss of over $23 million total during the 2014-15 fiscal year. The report shows athletics collected over $10 million in revenue while spending nearly $34 million on expenses. These expenses included $5,029,515 in athletic scholarships, $3,952,618 in salaries for coaches and over $400,000 on recruiting.

“Our largest expense item is scholarships because we do reimburse back the full amount to campus,” said Athletics Director Lawrence Teis in a statement. “Some schools waive a portion of this.”

To pay off the $23 million difference, the department collected a revenue of $897,300 in ticket sales and $1,881,659 from NCAA distributions. The remainder of the deficit way paid for by student fees which amounted to over $17 million.

Of the eight public universities in Texas that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision, only two programs — Longhorn sports at the University of Texas at Austin and Aggie sports at Texas A&M — were profitable and are the only two universities that do not require a student athletic fee.

In 2008, Texas public colleges collected $27 million in athletic student fees; In 2015, that number more than doubled to $57 million.

In February 2008, Mark Hendricks, former university spokesman, reported that 4,738 students voted to increase the mandatory athletic fee $10 per semester credit hour in $2 per year increments over five years.

The report stated that the increase was to bring the university into a higher athletic subdivision. The ruling was endorsed by President Denise Trauth and former student government president Reagan Pugh.

Pugh had stated that the vote to increase the fee was a sign that students wanted to better the university. Trauth supported that it was a sign of team work that students voted together to fund the university’s athletics program.

A university’s athletic program contributes to the decision-making process of future students attending a college and plays a role in sustaining current students said current Student Body President Andrew Homann.

“Athletics is very crucial to the university,” Homann said. “It’s essentially the front porch to the university. People get their first exposure to a university by how well their athletic team does.”

He went on to say Texas State is in no discussion of raising the athletic bill and the chances to further increase it are unlikely.