I chuckled a bit yesterday when I read a USA Today story that described a mother’s displeasure not knowing her daughter was actually funding the university athletic program.
The mother wished the Virginia university fully disclosed its intentions of taking her daughter’s money. Apparently, the daughter wasn’t that interested in sports at the school but she attended a few games. Memo to both mother and daughter: welcome to the world of college taxes. There are numerous hidden taxes in life and colleges and universities want their piece as well.
And it could get worse.
The money in higher education continues shrinking and athletic departments feel the pain too. Some have depended heavily on their school’s general budget for funding and because of the economic mess need to wean the department from that money source.
Here in Iowa, according to reports, the University of Northern Iowa Athletic Department receives about 38 percent of its money from the university general fund. In general terms, the Board of Regents recently told Northern Iowa (the school that shocked Kansas in the NCAA last season) to become more self-sustaining. One way to do that is to increase student athletic fees for each student that attends the university.
Obviously, universities cannot raise student fees too much or they might suffer admission problems. But this tax will not go away. It’s as they say, the price for doing business. And whether you enjoy sports or not, they aren’t going away either.
About the only hope for change in the situation is for the economy to improve. And that journey may take a long, long time.