The Crimson Club Athletic Fund (CCAF) is encouraging fans to step forward as donors.

The third annual “U Be Counted” campaign is the CCAF’s primary fundraising effort and had its kickoff on Feb. 4. The drive provides funds needed to offer “a world-class student-athlete experience,” said CCAF spokesperson Ann Argust.

“The money goes towards providing all the resources our students need to be successful, both in the classroom and on the field of play,” Argust said.

These resources involve scholarship elements like room, board and tuition. Athletic necessities encompass uniforms, equipment, travel costs and all other expenses defined by the NCAA as “full cost of attendance,” including transportation, child care, medical bills and other highly individualized needs.

Providing such support requires multiple sources of funding.

“Ticket sales alone will not fund this effort,” Argust said. “It takes engaged effort from as many donors as possible.”

The athletic fund raised more than $8 million in gifts and donations last year, providing a critical chunk of the department’s funding. For comparison, annual ticket revenues totaled just over $13 million.

“[Donations] are the biggest area of growth for us,” Argust said. “It’s the lifeblood of what we do.”

U Be Counted is partly a result of the U’s decision to join the Pac-12 in 2010. Other member donor bases and bank accounts have swayed the CCAF to ramp up their fundraising efforts in order to stay competitive.

“It’s even more critical to us, so we’ve poured a lot of time and energy into this,” Argust said.

Along with the donations received, last year’s U Be Counted campaigns added 500 new members to the Crimson Club. Organizers are hoping to meet or exceed those numbers by the end of this year’s drive.

The campaign includes radio and video ads and will play a strong role in interactions with fans, spectators and season ticket holders.

“Any time we’re talking with fans on the phone or in season ticket renewals … We’re having those conversations,” Argust said. “When people renew their season tickets, often, they’re renewing their donations.”

Interested parties can join the Crimson Club by donating online, over the phone or via mail. “U Be Counted” continues through June 30, 2016.

Athletic officials claim the additional support allows athletes to commit the time necessary to succeed in a competitive field, but some U students consider the support excessive.

“I think it’s totally unfair,” said April Bauman, a junior in psychology and gender studies. “I go to school full-time and I work full-time. There’s plenty of expenses that I have to cover to succeed too … But they don’t do that s— for us.”

a.oligschlaeger@dailyutahchronicle.com

@allisonoctober

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