Clemson Athletic Department considering implement student tax

Clemson University's Athletic Department is thinking about implementing a student tax as a supplement to its annual budget.

If approved, the plan would levy a $350 annual charge to students raising around $6 million in addition to the Athletic Department’s $72 million budget.

“We don’t need it now,” Dan Radakovich, Clemson Athletics Director told The State. “It would be very disingenuous to say that because of our financial circumstance athletics needs this fee now.”

Radakovich said that he expects expenses to increase for student-athlete health care and travel as well as benefits for employees in the near future.

While an official proposal has not been presented to the Board of Trustees, Clemson President Jim Clements’ office issued a statement to The State that his office is “aware of discussions” on the matter.

Clemson tuition is among the highest for public universities. The College Board reports average tuition at four-year, public universities is $8,655. According to its own website, Clemson’s tuition is $13,808.

Clemson football head coach, Dabo Swinney, signed an eight-year contract with the university that keeps him in charge of the football team until 2021. USA Today reports that this deal is worth $27.15 million, not considering bonuses.

“I’m very disappointed to hear the reasoning behind a student athletic fee,” Clemson senior, Emily Urban told Campus Reform. “Fees should be for the things necessary and vital to my education, not to help the athletic department.

“I keep hearing that everyone has an athletic fee, but we are Clemson," Urban said. "We don’t do things just because other places are doing them. And family certainly does not charge each other unnecessarily.” 

The State reports that other schools are making a hefty profit off of student athletic fees. The University of Virginia athletic department receives $13 million from student athletic fees. Florida State takes in $7-$8 million, and the University of South Carolina athletics generates about $2.5 million from their students.

“It’s about putting something into effect that will allow Clemson athletics to be strong for the next decade and beyond,” Radakovich said. “It is currently a revenue source that is not tapped.”

“Nobody wants to add more fees, but I think athletics is an integral part of their [students] experience at Clemson and they want to make sure that continues to remain strong,” Radakovich went on to say.

“I’m going to listen very closely to the students because they’re the ones who will be paying the fine, Clements said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what people think.”

The Clemson Athletic Department did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform.

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