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Fee increase request at FAMU.

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Fee increase request at FAMU.

FAMU makes pitch to save sports

The school's interim AD urges students to back an increase in fees to rescue 4 axed teams.

By Emily Badger
Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted July 13 2005

TALLAHASSEE – About 100 Florida A&M students attended an informal referendum Tuesday night on what interim athletic director E. Newton Jackson Jr. is pitching as the last hope to save four sports cut from the 2005-06 budget – an increase in student athletic fees.

Jackson and coaches for the men's golf and tennis and men's and women's swimming teams urged the students to support a $1.25 increase that would generate $425,000 in the coming school year.

That boost, to a $10 per credit-hour fee, would save the programs, they said, at a time when alumni contributions aren't likely to.

"You are the only hope we have with this right now. I can't depend on the alumni," Jackson told students at the conclusion of the two-hour town-hall meeting sponsored by FAMU's student government.

"You have the opportunity to lead the way for those that should already be leading you."

Jackson said he would repeat that same accusation to the alumni themselves when they meet in Orlando next weekend for their annual gathering.

"With that $400,000, you would never hear from these three coaches ever again, probably until your kids got here," men's golf coach Marvin Green said.

Despite direct pleas from the coaches, though, many students were skeptical about an athletic department that, in their eyes, mysteriously has gone belly-up overnight.

Even the coaches said they were caught completely off guard when Jackson announced two weeks ago that four programs would have to be cut in his budget presentation to the board of trustees.

Last year's $4 million deficit, Jackson explained to the students, was a result of years of unpaid bills and bad decisions that date back several administrations in the athletic department. But that explanation has left current students feeling burdened with finding a solution to problems they didn't create.

"The students shouldn't be responsible for the deficit of the university," said Nicole Cain, a second-year pharmacology student sitting in the back row.

Should the increase request pass through an expedited fee committee appointed by the student-government and university presidents, and ultimately the board of trustees, it could kick in as early as this upcoming school year.

But Jackson also warned students had to be part of a more sustainable solution – one that involves giving a lot more than an extra $1.25 when they graduate and earn their first paycheck.

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Fee increase request at FAMU.

Imagine that. Another school requesting students assistance in HELPING out the athletic budget.
The difference in FAMU and FAU's increase request is that they went public with what they wanted. Some schools nickle and dime you to death while slowly eating at the tuition increase.
Sort of like double secret probation.

I know that financial mismanagements led to this particular situation but let's keep in mind that most athletic departments don't make millions of dollars. Even the BCS big boys MAY break even sometimes. We can surf the net and find more schools who silently raised their tuition this year for "support" of other departmental activities. We can all guess where the other/extra "support" funds may end up.

We are not alone.
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