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Athletic funds waiting

Almost half of a student fee allotted to the athletic department is idly sitting in a fund somewhere waiting to be used. The athletic department and university administration have wisely decided that the near-$300,000 will be used in excess of an athletic funding cap mandated by the state. Because of this, the money needs approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents, and there is currently no timetable for this. The fee that generated this money was voted on by students last fall in which the student body self-assessed a $25 quarterly increase in tuition per student – $10 of which is allotted to the athletic department. Prior to last fall, no money from student fees went to athletics. It is important that the Board of Regents allow Tech to spend this money in excess of the cap as soon as possible. Each individual sport on campus has its own needs, and if Tech wants to remain on par with its competition the money must do more than collect dust. Many students that voted for the increase and paid the extra money are graduating and have not seen anything the money has done, and with each passing quarter, more and more of these students become alumni, and if their money was not used while they were students, they will be less-inclined to financially contribute as graduates. As reported in last week’s issue of The Tech Talk, the Lady Techster tennis team has difficulty scheduling opponents for home matches because of badly-weathered courts and no windscreens. The team turned to www.latechbbb.com, a Tech sports message board, to raise money because of a lack of university funding. The baseball team has improved its facility greatly since last season, largely with money raised by the team itself. That money should be used to purchase on-the-field equipment, and facility improvements should come from university funds. Also, Tech has purchased field turf for Joe Aillet Stadium, but has not been able to install it due to monetary issues. In the article last week, Jim Oakes, Tech’s athletic director, said plans for new scoreboards and video boards are in the works for both Aillet Stadium and Thomas Assembly Center. These additions would add to the atmosphere of Tech athletic events and allow fans to see instant replay of great plays or questionable calls immediately. In addition to improving the atmosphere, these will help in recruiting. Recruiting is essential to the success of an athletic program and a continued excellence in education. The improvement of facilities will not only help recruit elite athletes but elite students as well. If the money is not approved soon, Tech will not be able to remain competitive in the coming seasons. In last week’s issue, Tech president Dr. Dan Reneau said other states are spending more money on athletics than Louisiana and that is putting Tech at a disadvantage. The student body took a proactive step last year in approving the funds, and it is time for the state to recognize the student body’s forward-thinking approach to betterment of Tech athletics.

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