The $265.75 per full-time undergraduate student athletic fee is used by UB to fund scholarships for 500 student-athletes, among other stated uses, according to UB’s website.
That total includes 205 UB student-athletes on full scholarships, UB spokesperson Jay Rey told The Spectrum. Other athletes are eligible to receive aid at the discretion of their coach.
Many students seemed to be previously unaware that this was one of the allocations of the fee.
“I feel like that shouldn’t be coming out of my pocket. Definitely not,” senior environmental studies major Lauren Fodor said. “What am I gaining from that?”
Rey says that student engagement with UB Athletics can enhance the student experience. He said when UB teams perform well, they generate excitement on campus, which aids in student recruitment, alumni engagement and a sense of pride that continues long after graduation.
“Well I don’t like paying money, but I know UB prioritizes their sports. But I don’t understand why they need that much,” sophomore psychology student Skyler Turpin said.
“I think that they [student-athletes] should be given the opportunity to succeed, a lot of them should. But I don’t believe that that should come from me or the rest of the student body.”
The athletic fee also funds UB’s gyms and fitness centers, some of which are reserved for student-athletes year-round, such as the Morris Sports Performance Center and the Alumni Arena Sports Performance Center. The rest of the student body only has access to the Alumni Arena Fitness Center and other recreational amenities, such as the Alumni Arena pool.
Student frustration with the quality of athletics facilities hasn’t gone unheard by UB.
“The university has acknowledged the need to modernize its health and recreation facilities and has already announced its intent to invest heavily on both the North and South campuses,” Rey said.
The university has plans to build a new wellness and recreation center — complete with a pool, basketball courts, multiple fitness centers and an elevated running track — on North Campus, and renovations planned for South Campus’ recreational facility Clark Hall. Both projects are said to still be in their early stages.
“They really should have some sort of voting for how much you should pay, they’ve got to give [the students] some input on that, make it more optional,” sophomore computer science major Justin Podbielak said.
The athletics fee also funds free access to all regular season games for UB students, programs for students and support for student groups like cheerleading and marching band, according to UB’s website.
In addition to expenses such as tuition and housing, UB undergrads are required to pay 11 different “fees.” In the spring 2023 semester, each undergraduate student paid $1,855.75 in applicable fees, including the technology fee and the transportation fee.
But of the 11, the $265.75 athletics fee is the second most expensive one, behind only the aforementioned technology fee.
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