The ACFC counters Athletics' request for budget increase with decrease proposal, but is overturned
An earlier version of this article stated that students pay for 7,342 tickets per year. In fact, students pay for 52,552 combined football and men’s basketball tickets per year. In addition, Gleason’s proposal does in fact change the payment ratio to 50-50 with the removal of the donation fee.
The article has been changed to correct these errors.
The Feb. 6 budget hearing between the athletics department and the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, which determine annually the amount and price for student ticket distribution for football and men’s basketball games, led to yet another stalemate in reaching an agreement. The ACFC approved a proposal of an 18.9 percent decrease to the Athletics Department’s current ASUO budget. Later, this decision was overturned due to faulty voting processes, according to ACFC Chair Andrew Lubash.
The budget hearing was the second held this year to work out how much it will cost students next year, regardless of whether they attend athletic events or not, to receive the same amount of tickets to athletic events that they received in the 2014-2015 school year. Students pay for 5,448 tickets per regular season football game and 1,854 per basketball game. These are distributed via a lottery system (when you log onto goducks.com and watch the O spin for an hour hoping to get a ticket) that is funded by a percentage of the Incidental Fee, which each student pays every enrolled term.
This year the student body as a whole paid the Athletics Department $1,695,348 for the ticket lotteries for football and men’s basketball. The Athletics Department opened negotiations this fall requesting a 10 percent increase to provide the same amount of tickets for the 2015-2016 year. This would mean an additional $169,535 and would bring next year’s total to $1,864,883.
The ACFC met with Athletics on Jan. 16 and negotiated the request to a possible 3 percent increase rather than 10 percent. That would mean students would pay $50,860 more than they did this year. However, no official agreement was reached, and the ACFC discussed the athletics budget again in a meeting on Jan. 30. Ronnie Grenier-Hemphill, the chief liaison between the Athletics Department and ACFC, informed the Committee that Eric Roedl, Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director of Finance, had brought up the possibility of having to cut the amount of tickets, if anything less than the 3 percent increase were approved.
The Emerald followed up with Roedl on the matter and he delivered the following comment:
“Maybe we’d adjust the ticket allotment in some ways to more accurately reflect the value and the money that’s being transacted…we’d continue to have dialogue to find something that works for everybody.” Roedl said.
Another factor in the process to determine student tickets is the discount. Students don’t pay for the entire market value of the 52,552 tickets they get. This year students paid for 42 percent of the market value of the tickets, and Athletics covered the remaining 58 percent. Although there is language in the agreement that states a guideline to move towards a 50-50 payment ratio, students have never paid 50 percent of the market value.
“It’s a guideline, it’s not something rigid,” Roedl said. “I think our top priority is making sure students have good access to tickets and we meet student demand, and continue to be a big part of student life.”
The 10 percent increase requested by Athletics in fall would have changed payments to a 45-55 ratio. The 3 percent increase, would have maintained a 42-58 percent payment ratio. Factors like inflation and the rising demand for tickets as our teams improve cause costs to rise for Athletics, which is why they request more money to provide the same amount of tickets. It can be difficult to track how all the percentages line up, however.
The 18.9 percent proposal, however, takes a new approach entirely. Created by ACFC member Megan Gleason, it deals with another segment in the cost-factoring process. The price of tickets is split into two categories: ticket value and a donation fee value. The donation fee accounts for reserving seats in game stadiums. Within their individual payments, students pay the donation fee in full, and the ticket value, and the 58 percent Athletics discount is then applied to the overall cost. Gleason’s proposal would change the payment ratio to 50-50 of ticket prices, but cuts out the cost of the donation fee. Under her proposal, students would only be paying half of the ticket value.
Lubash expressed his support of the proposal at yesterday’s hearing.
“I have yet to hear a compelling reason why we should be paying the donation fee,” Lubash said.
Not all members felt it was necessary to venture into territory where Athletics had hinted that ticket numbers could be cut, however.
“They feel they’ve answered every question they can,” Grenier said. “At the end of the day, 3 percent is manageable for us.”
The ACFC proposal vote was 3-3, before Monquize Dusseau, executive finance director broke the tie in favor of the proposal.
However, ACFC Chair Andrew Lubash later discovered that the Green Tape Notebook, which contains all the rules regarding ASUO procedure, does not give the Finance Director authority to break a tie in the ACFC, and per Robert’s Rules of Order, the tie indicated a motion failure.
Before the mistake in the voting process was revealed, Athletics was informed about the 18.9 percent decrease proposal and filed an appeal.
The next hearing will take place on Tuesday Feb. 10 at 8 a.m. in the EMU Rogue River Room. Now, because the passed proposal has been overturned, it will be yet another normal budget hearing to work out a proposal for the ACFC to present to Senate on Feb. 21.
Follow Kaylee Tornay on Twitter @ka_tornay