Students will pay more while university pays less


It’s all about the money. Last Thursday the Blue Ribbon Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics released a report on the future of CSUN athletics. The report suggested a variety of remedies to improve what is perceived as a troubled sports program.

But the really interesting parts of this report have nothing to do with renovating the gym or putting more stands around the soccer field.

Let’s turn to page 14 – “Discussions must begin with CSUN students and Associated Students’ leadership on their willingness to financially support a true NCAA Division I-level athletics program.”

That’s odd, we have been doing that for 15 years or so since we became a NCAA Division I university. Apparently we students have not been doing enough in the eyes of the administration to pay for our sports program.

Most of us are aware that our sports facilities are not up to the standards of the institutions on the other side of the Hollywood hills. But this report is a bit hazy on construction plans and how much they will cost. What is concrete is where the money should come from.

Back to page 14 – “The intercollegiate budget should be a shared responsibility between the University (General Funds), its students (Associated Students’ and Instruction Related Activity fees), and the external community (sponsorships/event revenues/ fundraising). A goal that each sector contribute about one-third of the budget is a reasonable one to achieve within five to seven years.”

That is a radical proposal. The report proposes athletic improvements and then advises that the University cut its contributions in half!

The university pays 60 percent of the athletic budget now. One third from each sector means that the University’s share will be almost half of what it is now. That is quite a savings for the University.

Where will the rest of the money for athletic improvements come from, you ask? A lot of that money will come from you.

Students will have to pay at least 18 percent more money than now to bring our share up to a third of the present budget. Presumably the athletic budget will be growing far larger, requiring more student money.

The report points out that in comparison with other institutions, CSUN pays a much higher portion of its athletic budget out of its general fund. It also spends less per athlete than other universities.

How will the rest of the budget be paid for? It will take a lot of money to pay for all the improvements to the athletic program that the report spells out: a dramatic increase in outside sponsorship and donors.

The report spells this out too. Page 9 – “Begin a silent phase of key donor cultivation. Build a nucleus of potential donors who will be able to provide viability in future campaigns for new construction or improvements in selected sports venues.”

And, “Begin, at the appropriate time, a capital campaign for new construction of major improvements in existing athletics facilities.”

Get ready for Wal-Mart stadium, or even more structures named after people we know nothing about, other than they have a lot of money to donate to whatever the administration decides is important.

Should all that money (your money, mind you) go to improving our athletics program? The report sets out to make CSUN the “sports center of the San Fernando Valley.”

That sounds neat, but wouldn’t it be better for CSUN to be the education center of the San Fernando Valley? How about putting that money into more classrooms so that students would not be left out of classes that they need for graduation? How about hiring more full-time teachers, or using the money to improve the quality of our education?

The report mentions a few ideas for raising the graduation rates of athletes. That is an admirable thought. But what about the approximately 30,000 of us who are not one of our 400 athletes?

We have a graduation rate that is one of the lowest in the CSU system. That is disgraceful. Will the money that the administration saves by putting a bigger financial burden on students go to helping students? We think you know the answer.

Are there other innovative ways of raising money for the athletic program?

How about taking some of the millions that the university gathers from parking fees? Lets see, $126 times about 35,000 parking passes. That’s a lot of money.

How about taking some of the tens of millions that the University Foundation has squirreled away in the stock market? That money is for the benefit of the students, isn’t it?

Or how about taking a small portion away from tens of millions being raised for the Valley Performing Arts Center? We clearly have some master fundraisers around here. Maybe some of that money could go to facilities that students would actually use rather than an art center that students will probably not be able to afford tickets for.

Let us be wise with our student fees. Lets spend our money on improving our education, not our reputation in the NCAA. Let us be known for the quality of our education, not the size of our stadiums or the record of our teams.


Unsigned editorials represent the view of the Sundial editorial board and are not necessarily those of the Journalism Department. Other views on the opinion page are those of the individual writer.