Tarleton considers athletic fee increase

By Justin Rayside – 

Voting ends today for an increase in the intercollegiate athletic fee and Student Government Association elections. If approved, the intercollegiate athletic fee would rise from $10 to $16 per hour in fall 2013, and another $16 to $22 an hour in fall 2014.

The fees are applied only up to a 13 hour cap. A student taking 15 hours, for example, would see a rise in fees from $130 to $208 in fall 2013 and to $286 the following fall.

Kyle McGregor, President Dominic Dottavio`s chief of staff, says the fee would pay for remodeling and funding Texan athletic programs along with other renovations campus wide.

The student body has to approve the fee proposals before the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents can vote on them, McGregor said. McGregor says the increase will improve athletic facilities and opportunities for all students. “People will make the assumption that you’re really talking about athletics and nothing else but that is not true,” he said. “It will also be used on the recreational center, athletic facilities, running trail, aquatic center and different elements all students can use.”

If the proposal is approved, McGregor said students “can expect immediate results from their vote with the construction of new tennis courts to facilitate bigger events. Tarleton athletics will have more budget space to supply equipment and traveling fees for the Texan teams. Renovations will be made to Memorial Stadium, enhancing the game-day experience for fans. Adding an aquatic center to the recreational center will be a huge gain for students as well as the new plans for Wisdom Gym.”

McGregor also said the new facilities are expected to eventually further increase enrollment.

“When you have successful athletic teams, really nice facilities, and when students can visit the campus and see the recreational opportunities it really helps recruiting of students,” he said. “The response that I heard from this point has been fairly positive. Students get excited about the type of facilities and potential to be more competitive in the athletic programs.”

If passed, teams such as the All-girls and Co-ed Cheer teams will also benefit alongside the other sports teams on campus. The expected new facilities will be much larger and will be able to hold many more students than it has before.

“The new changes would mean that we would get to cheer in better facilities.” Said Kelsey Pharr, sophomore and member of the All-girls squad.

In the Recreation Sports Center, students will see a new aquatic center in phase 1 and artificial turf on the intramural softball fields in phase 2.

Rec Center Director Robert Nimmo said “We need to think about the future… if it wasn’t for the students in 2004, this facility [The Rec Center] would not be here.”

When asked about his feelings toward the intercollegiate athletic fee increase Brandon Johnson, an active member of the student body, said, “The new changes to the campus will be a very exciting change and will be very useful for current and future students. New facilities might help me forget about the increase.”

However, not all students are ok with the athletic fee increase. Tarleton student Julie Gutierrez said, “I think that the athletic fee is a bad idea. It forces students to pay for a fee that will only show results in several years. Juniors and seniors will not be able to see these changes, making it only applicable to future students.”

Kate Murphy also agrees that the athletic fee increase should not be passed.

“I am against the increase in [athletic] fees because I feel many students, including myself, come to Tarleton for an education, not for the sports program and the beautification of the campus,” she said. “Additionally I believe affordability is the number one thing for college students and this will make it even more expensive for a reason that many students don’t care for.”

Students are also voting on a proposal for differential tuition. This will not affect the entire student body but the students that are majoring or enrolled in business, nursing, and engineering classes.  In the business college, the fee is $19 per hour. In nursing and engineering, the fee is $30 per hour.

If approved, money from the fees will be used to pay for additional faculty, improved accreditation and upgrading equipment.

Editor’s note: Justin Rayside is a member of the Texan football team.

Caleb McCaig, SheaLeigh Jones and Ashleigh Roberts also contributed to this story.

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