Athletics questioned on finances by student council, possible split of student fee

Reading Time: 2 minutes The athletics department presented again to the student council upon their request about their financial situation and to give more detailed information on how student fees were used; the council also mentions the possibility of creating a new fee to support The Den.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Representatives from the athletics department spoke again to the UVUSA Student Council to give more detailed information about how student fees were used and how funds can be best used in support of The Den.

Meeting Feb. 9 in the student council room, the council had requested additional information about how the athletics student fee was being used. A chunk of this conversation centered around the possibility of making a separate fee to allocate money specifically for The Den and its operation.

“There has been a lot of chatter about presenting a proposal to allocate more money to The Den specifically,” Jaden Muir, VP of Academic Senate, stated during the question period of the presentation. “We’re not trying to decrease fees, but we are trying to increase the overall student experience which are what student fees are for.”

This proposal has proven to be controversial among the department, as the report from athletics has shown strain within their finances. Within the presentation given by Jared Sumsion, director of athletics; Nikki Scott, associate AD over finance and business operations; and Kameron Dearing, assistant AD over marketing, athletics received about $4.6 million in student fee revenue with about $6.7 million in expenditures.

According to Athletics, this 2.1 million deficit was largely due to a 42% increase in team travel over the past two years.

“We have no idea what travel costs are going to be,” Sumsion states. “We are really just balancing this out kind of in real time.”

The $2.1 million isn’t entirely a deficit, as this money is made up through sponsorships, fundraising, brand deals and game revenue, according to Athletics.

“Other athletic departments are not fundraising at the clip that were fundraising just to survive, that’s what we’re doing,” Sumsion continued. “Everything that keeps me up at night is based around these numbers.”

It was later confirmed to The Review that the department would be in the negatives this year due to the freeze in fee raises and increased travel costs for UVU teams. 

As mentioned in a previous piece, rising costs have pushed Athletics to new extremes in trying to maintain its current budget. During this meeting, Sumsion stated that other department vice presidents in the school have “donated money” to help support the department’s success.

“This is all based on President Tuminez’ [directives],” Sumsion remarked. “We’ve been increasing every year, and you guys have been a part of it.”

The Review attempted to follow up about which VP’s were providing support, what the dollar figures of the donations amounted to, and how those funds were used. However, Sumsion didn’t directly comment on this.

“All of the vice presidents have helped us achieve our goals,” Sumsion stated. “As far as details go, … we’re not talking about tens of thousands of dollars; we’re talking about some positions that could be reallocated to help us achieve our goals.”

Sumsion went on to comment on their fundraising capabilities for the entire university, mentioning how the department has been able to retain donors for each VP’s area and saying that each VP sees it as a mutual benefit due to this asserted benefit to each department.

The Student Council has stated they will have a final fee proposal ready by the next student council meeting on Feb. 16, which is also when Truth in Tuition takes place. All student council meetings are open to the public, and students are encouraged to attend.

For more information on student fees and the approval process, visit the UVUSA website.

The Review will update as more details become available.