Students will pay a higher student activities fee this fall if Chancellor Nick Dunagan approves athletics director Phil Dane’s proposed $27-per-semester increase.
The need for the fee hike comes after Community Health Systems decided last August not to continue a previous contract UTM had with Methodist Healthcare to provide $180,000 in funding for athletic training services.
Academics are also affected by the proposal. Dane says that the athletic-training program, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Performance, is up for accreditation this year. The proposed athletic training budget includes salaries for three full-time trainers and two graduate assistants.
“We can’t find this money by cutting sports,” Dane said. “We’d jeopardize our membership in the Ohio Valley Conference.”
UTM currently has the minimum allowable teams to compete in Division IAA sports.
The fee increase would also help fund the establishment of a new women’s sports team, the addition of a graduate assistantship for softball and the increase in recruiting budgets for female sports “to an amount proportional to participation rates.”
The total budget need stands at $287,660 and the amount estimated to be collected is $292,059.
Chancellor Dunagan and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Katie High were unavailable for comment.
SGA President Jennifer Ogg and Vice President Beau Pemberton both declined comment until after Dane brings the proposal before the SGA Senate at 9 p.m. tonight in UC 111.