Editorial: Athletic department’s budget with the ASUO shouldn’t keep increasing

Posted by Editorial Board on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 4:36 pm.

The tone of Tuesday’s ASUO budget hearing with the athletic department drastically changed at one point when Garrett Klassy, executive director of the Duck Athletic Fund and the athletic department’s sole representative at the hearing, said these words:

“That stuff’s not free.”

In reference to elements of the negotiation (for example: differences of opinion on athletics’ funding, student seating), Klassy said, “We’re open to all of these things, but none of these systems are free … We have been working off athletic dollars. If you want some of these things done, we’re gonna need help.”

And well, that’s when everyone in the room realized that it was time for one of “those” conversations. Conversations that re-examine things that haven’t been re-examined for years.

And we support that conversation. The Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee was right to challenge the department on what exactly the extra $48-some-odd-thousand athletics asked for was going to fulfill that a 0 percent increase wouldn’t cover.

It’s simply ridiculous for athletics to expect to continue to milk the students for more and more money each year and not offer a plan to get more seats at games. It’s beyond ridiculous that we will be admitting thousands of new students this fall, and yet the athletic department that attracted them with a Rose Bowl win doesn’t have a plan to meaningfully grow the student section to accommodate such an increase.

Especially considering that our 10-year student agreement with the department is now over, it’s time for athletics to agree to new transparency standards before we can allow them to continue growing on the incidental fee.

The gravy train is over.

Because at one point, both the committee and Klassy raised the possibility of what would happen if the athletic department wasn’t to accept the committee’s recommendation, and that conversation wasn’t particularly elaborated further upon.

And what happens if that is the case: What if athletics says “No” to the recommendation? Is there just no student section in that “No” scenario?

Here’s the point: We get that athletics is a business, and that it does cost more money each year. But in a student government that distributes money on a viewpoint-neutral basis, when a group has a near-$50,000 increase, it needs to be able to answer for what that increase is for — even if that group is not required to tender a line-item budget.

In response to a question about the student presence at games, Klassy said, “Students are vital.”

So prove it. Work with us.

For a while, your argument that we couldn’t haggle for as much as we wanted on the budget made a bit of sense. But at a certain point, we also need to reconcile the amount this budget increases each year with the amount our services increase (or don’t) each year.

The ASUO funds many things and many groups. But the athletic department is the one service we fund that we haven’t really challenged in this way in a while. This is a good conversation, and it’s the right time to have it.

It’s not a new idea around these parts to suggest that athletics needs to give something back to the University for what it’s gotten. But it’s one that needs to be taken more seriously by the department.

Because as we said one full year ago, “Don’t get us wrong: We love our Ducks, but we also love our educations.”

  • http://twitter.com/uomatters UO Matters

    Regular students are already subsidizing the jocks to the tune of $1.8 million for the Jacqua Center, and  now Mullens wants another $48,000? This editorial shows some remarkable restraint.

    • Lychipltd

       Yet many of those Jocks are from out of State and pay out of state tuition!  Maybe you and many others should factor that increased tuition revenue does to offset cost and instate student pays.

      Maybe you should look at past donations by coaches to the library and other school functions… think you’ll find there is a great positive many of you always seem to leave out!

      • LogicDuck

        You’re delusional if you think any significant portion of the athletes who get access to the Jaqua center are paying for school. They’re all here on scholarship.

        Your second claim is similarly bereft of forethought. What you’re essentially claiming is that everyone should give the athletic department what they want because they occasionally make small contributions to the academic side of the university. This is wrong- the university is a place of learning and academics first, and intercollegiate sports second.

  • Fact Provider

    Taken from the Daily Emerald itself:But the athletic department cannot offer the ASUO more student tickets. Seven years ago, the ASUO had a chance to buy all of the tickets offered to it  — 5,700 tickets. It passed on the chance to buy the whole allotment of tickets, and the athletic department took the rest of the tickets the ASUO didn’t buy and sold them to season-ticket-holders. Once season-ticket-holders have their tickets, the athletic department has no more say in the use of the tickets. Therefore, those tickets are gone until those who have the season tickets sell them back to the University.

    • Bhnd8ball

      We currently have 5,448 tickets for the student section. 252 tickets is a small amount, though I am not saying that the student section does not need them. I just think your statement is kinda pointless. And technically yes the season ticket holders still have to repurchase each year within the athletic department. They are in no way guaranteed their tickets each year. I’m just providing facts. This can all be found through goducks.com.

  • Chris

    If the price of my season tickets increase annually, why shouldn’t the price of student tickets? This stuff ain’t free! Have fun in the real world!
    Class of 2008

  • Lychipltd

    ” Here’s the point: We get that athletics is a business, and that it does cost more money each year.
    But in a student government that distributes money on a
    viewpoint-neutral basis, when a group has a near-$50,000 increase, it
    needs to be able to answer for what that increase is for — even if that
    group is not required to tender a line-item budget.”  let see  at 5500 seats, 7 home games that equals what a $1.30 per (football only) game increase. So how much have seating prices over that last ten year period increased on a per game bases? That’s not including the donation many season ticket holders pay.Finally tell me your willing to put a decision out for a vote of the students… I can tell you the results and the minority group of people looking to make this change will not be happy!!All you do is look at the history; there is a history department on campus maybe they will give you the scoopGo Ducks beat the Beaves