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June 06, 2004

U. Nevada: $1 Ticket Surcharge For Academics?

FROM A CREATIVE UNIVERSITY REGENT comes a provocative proposal to benefit academics funding at the University of Nevada.

University Regent Howard Rosenberg has floated the idea of a $1 surcharge on all athletic ticket sales, with the proceeds to be used for academic needs.

Chairman of the U. Nevada, Reno art department, Rosenberg is irritated that basic educational needs go wanting while funds seem to be lavished on the University of Nevada athletic programs (with campuses in Las Vegas and Reno). In March the Board of Regents approved $9 million of athletics spending at the two schools.

"I don't have enough seats, I don't have enough space and I don't have enough teachers and I've had it," said the lively Rosenberg.

Although revenue estimates from the surcharge were not available, it seems that such an action would not generate significant sums for the academic side.
UNLV Sr. Assoc. AD Jerry Koloskie said that only about a fifth of the $22 million athletics budget came from ticket sales, with the rest coming from scholarship donations and fund raising.

Such a surcharge would be a highly symbolic action that would be noticed, studied, debated, copied, lauded, applauded and condemned by D1 programs nationwide.

While the $1 surcharge would be a first step, a more substantial tithing could come from the donations and fund raising.

UNR Athletic Director Cary Groth expressed her disfavor of the surcharge scheme when she commented, "I'm not familiar with any other university in the country that has an academic surcharge, so to speak."

Meanwhile, Regent Jack Lund Schofield perhaps got a little carried away when he nostalgically (and grandiosely) uttered, "I think we need to improve athletics and go back to the glory days of (former UNLV basketball coach Jerry) Tarkanian so that students all over the world can break down the gates to enroll in our schools."

Ahem. Break down the gates? Students from all over the world? Hmm.

Thereupon Groth and Schofield trotted out the argument that athletic programs support academics by bringing publicity to the school. Groth made mention of the Wolf Pack's basketball success saving the university millions in advertising and recruiting.

The next Board of Regents meeting is this month in Elko. It promises to be an interesting meeting.

More later . . .

(this 378 word excerpt was distilled from a 1105 word article in the Las Vegas Sun of 5-24-04)