SGA passes resolution against annual increase of student athletic fee

Sarah Stukenborg

The Student Government Association passed a resolution on Tuesday in support of ending the annual increase of the student athletic fee after WKU joins Conference USA.

Mark Reeves, an SGA senator and executive vice president-elect, initiated the resolution because he believes an automatic annual increase in student athletic fees will be unnecessary once WKU joins C-USA.

“The resolution argues that because we will have increased revenues coming in, we don’t need that automatic increase,” Reeves said.

The student athletic fee is included in WKU students’ tuition and fees, and in the past has increased annually according to the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI).

According to the resolution, WKU athletics pays $80,000 in the Sun Belt Conference, but only receives $40,000 back in revenue sharing, amounting to an annual $40,000 loss.

On July 1, 2014, WKU will join Conference USA. Todd Stewart, athletics director, said WKU “can expect to receive $1 million to $1.5 million in annual revenue sharing,” according to SGA’s resolution.

The annual amount of $1 million would more than offset the amount generated by the $12 that WKU students pay, Reeves said. Therefore, there will no longer be a need for an annual automatic increase in students’ athletic fees.

He also said the resolution sets a precedent for students not to support automatic fees in the future.

“I think automatic increases are something we as students should be wary of,” Reeves said.

The resolution was important to Reeves because he feels WKU joining C-USA provides an opportunity for increased student fees to go toward WKU’s needs other than athletics, such as academics.

“It offers the opportunity to reduce the burden of athletic fees on students,” Reeves said.

Cain Alvey, administrative vice president of SGA, feels the resolution is a good move for WKU, both financially and athletically.

“I believe it will take time for the HEPI to be taken away because athletics is so dependent on it for funding,” Alvey said. “But I believe that after athletics has proven it can be self-sustaining, the university should make the move to either take away the HEPI fee or freeze it where it is.”