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This item originally appeared in the April 8, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

A proposed student fee increase will benefit athletics, especially if Tech is invited to join Conference USA, one of the nation's top athletic conferences.

A student self-assessed fee proposal has been updated to include a $10 increase for the athletic department, and several organizations such as Student Government Association, Union Board and KLPI will also receive an increase for the Fall 2004 school year.

Jennifer Porter, SGA president and a senior marketing major, said the important fee increase is in athletics because that is what the community will see the most.

"The athletic department's budget is in a decline, and what the public sees the most about a university are sports," Porter said. "With the increase, it could help recruit good athletes."

Porter said if the fee is passed, it will put the university in Conference USA, instead of the Western Athletic Conference.

"If we become a part of Conference USA, then our association will be broader, and we will be able to travel to games that are not at home," Porter said. "And students will probably be more involved."

Currently, there is no fee assessment for this department.

Jim Oakes, athletic director, said student athletes could definitely benefit because the increase could "help the university remain competitive from an economic standpoint."

Porter said, "Since the proposal, we have gained a closer relationship with athletics. I see so many improvements because we are working together trying to gain solutions to better serve the students."

Kaia Durrant-Nairne, a shot-put-thrower for the track team and a senior biology major, said if the fee increase is added for the 2004 year, it will help the university get more recognition around the United States.

"Everyone knows that Conference USA is one of the top conferences in the world," Durrant-Nairne said. "If we are able to get in, recruiting will be better for the school and we will have better competition."

Justin Adcock, SGA vice president and a junior marketing major, said because of a closer relationship with the athletic department and the initiative to get students to sporting events, the athletics department has decided to open facilities to students.

"Instead of just using the [Maxie Lambright Intramural Sports Center] for student sports activities, it has been decided for students to use places such as Joe Aillet football stadium or the Thomas Assembly Center," Adcock said. "This may increase the number of student participation at games.

"The increase will help by allowing us to serve the students better with more concerts and [provide] more give-aways," Adcock said. "We will be able to do more because we will have more money."

Jacob Grosskopf, a junior biology major, said as long as games are still free, then the proposal is OK.

"I would vote yes on the proposal because it will help our games be more exciting," Grosskopf said. "I think it's a good idea to include an athletic increase because it can really get students more involved in activities."

Students will vote on the proposal in the regular SGA elections April 28 through 29.

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