UTSA students vote to reject a proposed athletics fee increase

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

UTSA students have rejected a proposed increase in the athletics fee, the university announced Friday morning. A little more than 70 percent of nearly 5,900 students voting over the past few days elected to turn down an increase that would have boosted the fee from $20 to $27.50 per semester hour.

The final results are:

For – 1,730 or 29.33%.
Against – 4,168 or 70.66%

“I want to thank all the students who voted in this referendum. Your voice is important, and we appreciate your involvement,” said Lisa Campos, UTSA’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics. “I don’t believe this was a vote against athletics. In fact, we see more and more students coming to our games and supporting our teams.

“For many, this was a financial issue. Cost of attendance is top of mind for many of our students and we respect that. Our desire is to make the value of a UTSA degree even greater, and we will continue to do our part to support the success of our students and graduates.”

“As we head into Homecoming weekend, I’m so grateful for all the support that UTSA Athletics has received from across the university including the Spirit of San Antonio, UTSA Cheer and ROTC. We’ve all been together since day one,” Campos said.

The athletics fee has been a foundation of the athletic department’s funding ever since the university elected to start the football program. In 2007, students voted to increase the fee from $10 per semester hour to $20 per semester hour, with the fee capped at 12 hours per semester.

The additional revenue allowed UTSA to kick off its football program in the 2011 season.

Students have now turned down efforts to boost the fee twice in the last five years. Initially, one proposal failed in 2018. The latest effort was defeated this week. The proposal called for the addition of $1.50 per credit hour, each year for five years, through the 2027-28 school year.

Use of student fees to fund athletics has been common for universities adding football programs over the past two decades. As for how UTSA’s fee compares to others, the university says on its “Everyone Wins” website that it currently has the lowest in-state tuition and fees of any Texas school in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

UTSA’s athletics fee, according to the website, “is currently in the middle when compared to schools with emerging football programs, which are those programs that were started in the last 20 years. Those programs generally do not have the same level of ticket sales, donor contributions, conference media rights payments and sponsorship revenue like more established programs.”

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