Students encouraged to vote on athletic fee increase
Samuel P. Tucker– Sports Writer
On Monday, Sept. 30, news broke that Tarleton was leaving the Lone Star Conference (LSC) to join the Division I Western Athletic Conference (WAC). In the days since the unexpected news was announced, many people have reported that Tarleton has already accepted the invitation extended by the WAC. However, President Hurley has clarified the agreement between Tarleton and the WAC.
“We have verbally accepted the invitation…we will not officially accept the (invitation) until we have all of the student referendum votes…(and) lots of (other) steps before (it’s) official,” Hurley said.
The student referendum vote allows students to vote on whether or not to increase the athletic fee students pay.
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Hurley, along with Athletic Director Lonn Reisman, and Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration Lori Beaty announced that the school was proposing an increase of $13 to the Intercollegiate Athletics Fee.
“We are recommending that we increase the fee from $22 per semester credit hour to $35 per semester credit hour…We cap that at 13 semester credit hours, so if you take 15, 16, 17, 18 semester credit hours in any given semester you only pay 13 semester credit hours of the athletics fee…and that will not change,” Beaty said.
The most a current student pays toward the Intercollegiate Athletics Fee is $286. However, under the proposed change, the maximum amount a student would pay increases to $455.
Hurley says he does not plan to raise tuition above the minimum amount that the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents requires the school to charge.
“I am concerned about student debt…what I’ve promised students and what I’ve promised our staff [is] we’re not going to raise tuition above what the system requirement is,” Hurley said.
Hurley says that this move to Division I is not simply a move for athletics, but a move meant to increase Tarleton’s institutional profile.
“Making a Division I conversion isn’t just about athletics; it’s about raising the institutional profile, it’s about ensuring that the degree that our students earn is worth more tomorrow than it is today,” Hurley said.
One of Hurley’s concerns rests with a statement that many Tarleton students have likely heard before: Tarleton is the best kept secret in Texas.
“On the front of this JTAC…it says, ‘Welcome to the Best Kept Secret in Texas.’…Do we really want to be the best kept secret in Texas?” Hurley asked. “…I don’t think a lot of the folks across the country know how special Tarleton state is. This is a special, special institution, but the problem is outside of the state of Texas and even inside the state of Texas a lot of folks don’t know how good we are and how good we can be.”
Vice President for Student Affairs Kelli Styron is in agreement with Hurley.
“We don’t want to be a secret anymore. We want everybody to know about us,” Styron said.
Students have the final say on whether or not the Intercollegiate Athletic Fee will be raised and if Tarleton will go Division I. Voting will take place on TexanSync beginning today Oct. 14-16 as a part of the homecoming ballot.