ACFC and athletics fail to reach budget agreement again

The fate of student tickets for football and men’s basketball games next year remains uncertain after the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee failed to pass two proposals in its third budget hearing with the athletics department.

The ACFC met with Athletic Director of Finance and Administration Eric Roedl at 8 a.m. on Feb. 10 in the Rogue River Room to once again negotiate a proposal for next year’s budget. The last budget hearing for athletics was Friday, Feb. 6, but Roedl had not been in attendance. The committee voted 3-3 on a proposal authored by ACFC Megan Gleason that would have reduced the athletics department’s budget by 18.9 percent for the 2015-2016 school year. The tie vote resulted in a motion failure.

The agreement between the athletics department and the ACFC sets the amount of and price for student ticket lotteries for football and men’s basketball events. Students pay only a percentage of the fair market value of the tickets purchased. For example, this year, the ratio was 42 percent paid by students and 58 percent covered by athletics. In addition, the fair market value of each ticket is characterized by two parts: the ticket value and a mandatory donation fee. Gleason’s proposal cut out the value of the donation fee from the payment for the same amount of tickets for next year. Although the proposal did not pass, the donation fee became a subject of further question for the ACFC in its deliberations about the budget.

With Roedl present at this hearing to answer questions, ACFC members asked him for more detail about the role of the donation fee. He gave a few explanations, citing it as a way for the department to generate revenue, saying several times, “It’s a part of the total fair market value.”

However, members like Gleason and ACFC Chair Andrew Lubash wanted further clarification on how the athletics department uses the donation fee, particularly in the case of students. Roedl explained that the donation fee, which applies in the case of every seat in the stadiums, goes to various expenses, including the Ducks Athletic Fund. Among other things, the DAF funds athletic scholarships. Roedl said that the donation revenue from Incidental Fee-purchased tickets does not go into the DAF. He did not specify how the donation fee from student tickets is spent, however.

The donation fee is also an 80 percent tax-deductible write-off for regular purchasers of tickets. However, the ASUO, and consequently students are not able to make use of the tax write-off.

The first motion on the table was for a 3 percent increase, the percentage agreed upon by Athletics as the lowest they would like to see the increase go in order to provide the same amount of tickets. The vote was again 3-3 and the motion failed. Lubash then moved to approve a zero percent increase, which also resulted in a 3-3 vote and motion failure. Because the ACFC was unable to reach an agreement, it will have no budget recommendation to put before Senate on Feb. 21 when it reviews all budgets for next year. It will be up to Senate to form a recommendation for the ACFC, who will then vote to pass it in accordance with athletics.

Follow Kaylee Tornay @ka_tornay

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