In light of two separate board posts today, and a constant murmur of complaint on this blog about the rising cost of tickets to see our favorite Michigan teams play, I wanted to post a LINK to a random article about the hidden fees athletic departments use to finance themselves at other schools. There is nothing special about that article, it was just one of the top hits when I Googled "student athletic fees college," but it interestingly talks about two Virginia schools that happen to be notable right now--Virginia Commonwealth and Norfolk State, who both pulled off upsets last week in the NCAA basketball tournament. For the trouble of having a basketball team (plus all the other sports), each student pays over $1000 a year on top of tuition and all the other fees. While ticket prices for an individual game might be low, make no mistake, the students are paying for their teams.
Of course, this stands in contrast to the Martin-Brandon Michigan AD, which prides itself on being entirely self-supporting, even running a profit. As a recent graduate, I appreciate that the financial burden of school is not made worse for the privilege of having so many great teams. I want to thank everyone who supports the AD and helps pay for the successful athletes and wonderful facilities we all enjoy. Without them, we would either not have the resources to build skyboxes, upgrade video screens, or pay coaches, or the school would (metaphorically) go back to the parents for more cash--looking for a subsidy from the University itself.
Without becoming explicitly political, I generally believe that people should pay for what they consume, and not be forced into subsidizing anyone else. So, I am happy that our AD is not paid for by the general student body (or taxpayers of Michigan), but rather by the season ticket holders, donors, and TV networks. If it seems like I am defending Brandon's testing of the limits of price elasticity for Michigan sports, I am, because the alternative is much worse. As everyone knows, there is no such thing as a free lunch. If we agree that having college athletics is important, someone will have to pay for it, and as long as Brandon knows what he is doing (I trust he does), I am completely comfortable with soliciting more money from those most willing and able to provide it. I know that the passion for Michigan sports is limitless, and hope that the generous support continues well into the future.