Pitt’s money games

Athletics should not dominate the university

Ross Schartel | guest columnist

While athletics may be an attractive addition to any university’s activities and community outreach, one must remember why we are all at Pittsburg State University. Academics are what your money is paying for.
It seems unfair for extracurricular activity to take precedence in student activity fees. That they do not have to even argue for their cut unlike every other department furthers this statement.
When you chose Pittsburg State University, you might have taken into account our football team and its recent division championship. You might have noticed that both our women’s and men’s basketball teams are pretty good.
But that can’t be the only reason you came here. Your diploma is not dependent on the strength of these teams. It has nothing to do with all these extracurricular activities, and you know why?
Because they are extracurricular. They do not deserve precedence simply because they can make a university a household name.
Because our university is pushing more student activity funds toward athletics, we are forcing the academics of the university to play a grown-up game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, each department fighting for a small fraction of what they might actually need.
In order to thrive, we might not constantly need “new,” but we do need updates in some departments. Updates such as equipment essential for certain departments to teach the new standards of the field, and more faculty to teach the increasing number of general education classes full of incoming freshmen.
The number of full-time tenure-track teaching faculty has dropped in recent years. On a national scale universities are cutting down the number of full-time professors and increasing the number of adjunct professors, which does not have the same benefits as a full-time position.
Pay is lower, health care is almost nonexistent, and your sense of job security is all but gone as well. It might not seem like such an issue to let the athletic departments have their funding without question, but when it starts to affect academics, it becomes detrimental to our education.
We spend more time as a culture watching sports (which, while entertaining, do not need to be your entire life), than we do supporting our fellow students in the Music Department.
As a result, we attend their concerts and operas so little that they have cut the number of performances given to only those needed for class qualifications. The University Gallery often goes without student attendance apart from Art Department students attending guest lectures and exhibits for class. Our Physics Department has the wonderful Kelce Planetarium, that few actually get to experience.
That this is all for the sake of adding a worn-once uniform to our football team’s supply room seems wrong.
If our athletics take first rung when planning the university’s annual budget, then what is the point of continuing as a university? If we continue to focus our attention on athletics over academics, then we are perpetuating the stereotype of the diminishing value of an American education.

Student fees should go to athletics

Stephan McTeer | guest columnist

Whenever one goes to pay tuition, there is always that pesky portion that goes toward student fees. Here at PSU, 26 percent of all the money designated as student fees goes toward the Athletic Department including renovations of fields/stadiums, covering the salaries of coaches, scholarships, etc.
Many might wonder and even be appalled that they give so much money to athletics. As a former two-sport college athlete who got a lot of his tuition paid for through scholarships, I can tell you that athletic scholarships and renovations to facilities are vital to the well being of a university.
There is no way I would have been able to attend the school I wanted to without a lot of athletic scholarships. Athletics not only benefit the players on the teams, but they benefit the school and community. Without athletics, there would be literally tens of thousands of college age students who would never have the opportunity to go to college.
Without sports, the number of students at every university would decline and believe it or not, a vast majority of scholarships given out are not what is known as a “full ride.” Many student athletes must foot the bill for the rest of their tuition. That means that without sports, not as many students would be attending or paying money to the school.

The Weede

Illustration by Kenzi Jordan

Not only do these fees help students, they help the community and local economy. Take Pitt State football, for example. We averaged over 10,000 fans per game at Carnie Smith Stadium this past season. That is $10 per ticket for general admission and that money goes right back in to the school, not just the athletic department.
At every game, a different campus organization works the concession stands. A big portion of those proceeds goes back to that organization, so without football games, many campus organizations would cease to exist. This is not only true of football, but of all sports. Think about all the apparel you own that says Pitt State Athletics or Pitt State football. None of that would exist without an athletic department.
University athletic departments make a lot of money for the school they represent. Are there cons to spending money on athletics? Of course there are. There are some who say that money should go toward academics. Others say that sports are not a vital part of a university. There is some validity to those statements, but sports are ingrained in our society. They bring us together as people or as a school. They provide an escape from the daily struggle of being a student. They also boost the economy.
Without a thriving athletic department, Pittsburg State University would drastically change for the worse. I know no one wants that to happen.

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