By Lorynne Benavides—
Tarleton State University’s Division I Task Force met Wednesday for its last meeting before presenting an objective and assessment to President Dominic Dottavio. Texan News interviewed Rick Richardson, Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration/Task Force Chair, to find out what a transition to Division I would mean for Dottavio’s successor.
“That’s very interesting, because Dottavio might not actually be the one making the decision. If there’s not an invitation received to join D1 during his presidency, however long that might last, then he wouldn’t make the decision, a successor would,” Richardson said.
During the meeting, the task force contemplated extending an invitation to Tarleton Athletic Director Lonn Reisman to attend the University Budget Council meeting. Keldon Bauer, Department Head of Accounting, Finance & Economics worked with Reisman and Assistant Athletic Director and Division I Task Force member, Justin Boyd, to produce numbers in Bauer’s situation analysis.
“Getting Lonn in a room for an hour at a time is difficult anyway, and then getting him in there with his guard down so you can get good information is even more important,” Bauer said.
Bauer also spoke on his personal relationship with Reisman, and how it played a part in the success of producing a sufficient analysis.
“Honestly, I don’t know Lonn, and that’s the best place for me to be is not knowing Lonn at all and coming at this cold,” Bauer said. “I think that’s where I add value…I’m just looking at numbers. I just want the numbers,” he said.
Additional information regarding applied fees to satellite campuses also sparked discussion among the group.
Richardson said whether or not the university goes DI, they’ve still got to look at the fee waiver.
“We’ve got one of, if not, the most complex fee structures in the state. The other component is, based on Dr. Bauer’s research and Lori’s work, we know costs are going to increase, whether we go DI or stay DII,” he said. “This fee waiver would be an important source as well as a potential athletic fee increase…,”
At the task force’s open forum, Lori Beaty, Assistant Vice President of Finance & Administration/Controller, mentioned students on satellite campuses being potentially charged with an athletics fee. This was explained to help cover costs of transitioning to Division I athletics. However, according to Beaty, regardless if the university receives an invitation, the university intends on applying those fees, including the health services fee.
“Researching this, we are becoming more and more aware of the complexity,” Beaty said. “What I wanted Dominic to understand when he talks to SGA is the fee waiver is a part of this conversation because it will provide needed funding, but it’s not all about athletics and the athletic fee.”
Additionally, the athletic fee for Stephenville campus students would potentially increase.
“As we expand services at the satellite campuses, we’re going to have (to) extend those fees in order to have the revenue to cover it, otherwise you got your Stephenville folks subsidizing the Fort Worth campus,” Beaty said.
The task force will present to Dottavio at the University Budget Council meeting Monday in Dining Hall room 217 at 11:30 a.m.