There’s no reason for sports fee hike

Students once again are being asked to dig deeper in their pockets to finance a program that doesn’t deserve a reward. Once again, it’s the student athletic fee.

And that would be acceptable, if this school had an athletic program worth the kind of money the department is probably going to get. However, most sports teams at NIU have done little in recent years to merit the sums of money they have requested and received over that same period.

A proposed student fee increase being reviewed by the President’s Fee Study Committee would alot $6 per student per semester to the athletic department. That might not sound like much, and they’d probably like you to think that it’s not. But if you add it up, it totals to about $250,000—that’s right, a quarter of a million dollars for the 1987-88 school year.

Somehow, it just doesn’t make sense to give that kind of money to a program that seems to be in a state of constant disarray.

Supporters of the athletic program would argue that good universities are built around their sports teams. They’d say winning teams bring prestige and recognition to the schools they represent. And they’d contend that with that prestige, the university is bound to attract top-rate students.

Actually, that is a sound argument. Good athletics do attract people to a university. However, the NIU athletic department has repeatedly been unsuccessful in upgrading its teams—and they have been unsuccessful despite the large sums of money students have pumped into sports over the years through student fees.

Face it, the athletic department has perpetually struggled for respectability and has been unable to attain it. No amount of money will buy the respect the department is striving for. So what is the point in giving athletics any more money?

There is no point in spending money endlessly on a faulty program, especially when fees are already high. Sometimes fee hikes are necessary when those seeking the funds deserve an increase. But an increase in the athletic fee would do nothing to improve the university and therefore, students should not be expected to shell out any more money to the athletic department.