Finance Uncategorized

How Clemson would benefit by charging students athletics fees

Clemson considering increasing athletics department revenue by levying a fee on the student body.

(AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)
(AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Students at Clemson might have to pay an additional $350 “athletics fee” beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.

Clemson currently does not charge its students any fees for attending athletic events, making it one of the remaining few FBS athletics departments to not receive a subsidy. However, Clemson AD Dan Radakovich appears to be reconsidering, commenting, “It is currently a revenue source that is not tapped.” By charging $350 per undergraduate student, the athletic department would receive an extra $6 million annually. Radakovich also stated that the potential revenue from student fees would not be used for facilities.

The following graph compares the percentage of total athletic department revenue that comes from student fees at Clemson and its rival universities:

Universities charging student fees versus Clemson (source: Ed McGranahan, US Department of Education- Office of Postsecondary Education)
(US Department of Education- Office of Postsecondary Education)

Typically, smaller Division I athletic departments have been the most dependent on student fees because they don’t have the revenue stream provided by major football programs. A graph from the Chicago Tribune (below) shows Illinois universities’ student fees as a percentage of total revenue, which exemplifies the greater reliance on student fees at smaller institutions.

Student fees as a percentage of total revenue (source: Chicago Tribune)
Student fees as a percentage of total revenue (source: Chicago Tribune)

Clemson would join public universities such as Rutgers, Maryland, Colorado, Utah and Louisville by charging significant student fees for athletics. An official proposal has not been made, but conversations about the fees began shortly after Radakovich was hired as athletic director nearly two years ago.

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