News broke earlier today about Clemson University considering an annual student athletic fee. The fee, which would go directly to the athletic department, would in theory be around $350 per year for each student. This would bring Clemson in line with many FBS schools where students do not pay directly for athletic tickets, but support them through an annual athletic fee.
The administration has admitted conversations have taken place, but are quick to mention that no proposal has been submitted for consideration. Any proposal would have to be passed by the Board of Trustees before being implemented.
This smells like a trial balloon and I have no problem jumping out and saying this is a terrible idea. Yes, this fee would raise $6 million a year for Clemson athletics, but I have a hard time seeing the need. Last year our analysis of Clemson's financials indicated a profit of nearly $2 million. Remember that this number is only for the athletic department and has nothing to do with the IPTAY money. IPTAY of course is still sitting on million of dollars they have yet to spend. If Clemson is thinking about this fund as a potential revenue stream why don't they focus on getting money out of IPTAY or improving donor relations to get it from alumni actually making money.
Instead they seem set on fleecing students already under pressure with rising tuition and fees on the academic sides. Clemson is one of the more expensive public schools in the nation, especially for those coming to school from out of state. Though $350 may not seem like a lot to many of us, it is $1400 over the course of a degree and that matters to students paying their own way or needing to take out loans to afford school.
The fee is also a way of fleecing students who won't even have an opportunity to go to the game. Clemson offers 11,000 student tickets per home game. We have over 15,000 undergraduates at Clemson. That means at least 4,000 students will be paying for Clemson athletics despite not having the chance to go to a Clemson football game. That's simply atrocious and nothing but a greedy ploy by the athletic department.
How about the athletic department charges for student football tickets? That way the kids that want to go and are able to go can support the athletic department financially. It won't screw thousands of kids when IPTAY is sitting on thousands of dollars.
Oh and if that isn't enough money how about the school starts selling beer during games? It would increase second half attendance and provide another revenue stream. It would also have the benefit of reducing drunk incidents in the stadium. Fans are less likely to pregame hard enough to think Cole Stoudt is a great QB when they can stay in the stadium to buy alcohol.
Honestly the student athletic fee is a terrible idea and I hope it stays a theory rather than a submitted proposal.