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One hundred fifty dollars. That’s how much money NAU Athletics has proposed to take from students at the Flagstaff Mountain campus each academic year starting fall 2018, if passed. This $150 athletic fee would supposedly support athletic programs, but it’s unclear at this moment what the fee would go toward specifically.

To begin, I will talk about how this might be a good thing.

Maybe the fee would go toward athletic students who are struggling with funds for their own sports. Maybe the fee would go toward building a new basketball stadium or toward fixing the decaying Skydome. Maybe the fee would go toward building up smaller athletic programs. But we don’t know because they have yet to grace us with this enlightening and top secret information, even though it’s our money.

So let me tell you why I think this fee proposal is actually a horrible idea.

This year, spring 2018, there are about 20,900 students enrolled at NAU. Enrollment rates are constantly increasing, but for the purpose of this analysis, I’ll stick to the 20,900 this spring. Now each student, regardless of their NAU Athletic affiliation, pays the proposed $150 fee.

That’s $3.1 million.

What on Earth is NAU Athletics going to do with $3.1 million? Build a new basketball stadium? (Still not quite enough money for that.) Buy new fancy Nike jerseys for every team (even the D-team Underwater Basket Weavers)? Cover five-star hotel and travel expenses for away games? (They better not.)

Now riddle me this: For all the NAU students who have nothing to do with athletics and who prefer music or biology, how is pitching in 150 valuable dollars going to improve their education? That money could easily go toward the overpriced cost of textbooks or even paying for senior caps and gowns (don’t get me started on that).

Paying $150 to an organization that does not directly better your education does not make sense.

I’m a journalism student, but THANK GOD I gave $150 to NAU Athletics and not toward my equally-expensive textbooks. Now they can wear nice jerseys for their games, and now I can finally sleep at night.

Here’s an analogy, NAU Athletics, if you’re listening. It’s no longer the “proposed athletic fee.” It’s now the “proposed juggling fee,” for NAU’s juggling club.

The club desperately needs fancy new juggling pins for their competitions, because God forbid they have to use their old equipment. They might get splinters in their hands or something, and what would NAU do without their famed juggling team? The fee might go toward equipment, but because the $150 fee has not officially been passed, it’s still up for discussion what it would actually go toward.

Stay tuned, broke college students, the debates are fierce and going nowhere fast, but we’ll still take your money in the meantime.

So the question is: Would you pay $150 toward the juggling club every year? You don’t have anything to do with juggling or even know what your money would be used for, but sure, even though you’re a student who is already drowning in debt and eating Ramen for dinner every night, let’s throw $150 at a club that has nothing to do with your education.

Some might say I’m over reacting, but when you’re living paycheck to paycheck on top of the pile of student loans growing at a terrifying rate, $150 is more than you want to pay for something that won’t even affect you.

This is what the proposed athletics fee feels like. Think about it. This is not a great idea and will receive a lot of backlash from non-athletic students.

But to NAU Athletics — good luck ignoring the student voice and passing it anyway.

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Megan Troutman is the editor-in-chief of The Lumberjack, Northern Arizona University's student newspaper. College Chronicles aims to connect FlagLive! readers to various aspects of campus life.


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