Athletic fee should be raised to help university

On April 7, the Florida A&M University Student Fee Committee met for the consideration of increasing the athletic fee for the upcoming academic year of 2009-2010.

The athletic fee is a mandatory fee charged to every student attending FAMU for an assortment of things – from the coverage of students to attend home games along with facility maintenance.

With 92 percent of the students receiving financial assistance in some way, the students wouldn’t be affected by the increase if it does take place. Currently Florida A&M University has the lowest athletic fee amongst the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC), which consists of fellow universities such as, Bethune-Cookman, Hampton, North Carolina A&T and Howard.

According to reports on Rattler and, the current athletic fee is at $10.07, but if the Board of Trustees approves the request then the fee will increase by 0.84 to $10.91. The increase can’t do anything but improve the conditions of the athletic department, which has some areas of concern according to faculty advisors. It consists of four individuals to the current needs of Bragg Memorial Stadium.

In addition, with the increase athletic programs will be able to diversify their recruitment such as searching for a variety of talent out of state and a possible increase in campus visits for undecided athletes. If the request is approved, the university will be able to address some of these issues, as well as help pull the department out of it’s current $5.7 million deficit.

The only thing that should be recommended is the fact that this “increase” doesn’t become a continuous thing due to the fact that two years ago there was an increase. In this case the increase is very much needed so the athletic department can catch positive publicity instead of the negative attention that it has previously endured.

As students, we are sometimes looking for the cheap way out and there is nothing wrong with that, but in this situation raising the fee won’t hurt the student body. The increase can only bring the best student athletes to our university, which entails us gaining more titles as well as more money.

When it comes to that time of the year when we have to increase the student athletic fee, perhaps we should let it increase – but not so much.

According to recent reports about the five-year plan, the deficit will reduce by the following:
•Approximately $535,000 in the 2009-2010 school year;
•Approximately $1.1 million in the 2010-2011 school year;
•Approximately $1.5 million in the 2011-2012 school year;
•Approximately $1.3 million in the  balance of approximately $663,000 in the 2013-2014 school year.

Lester Stephens is a third year Economic student from Tallahassee. He can be reached at