The Chronicle’s View: Making a nest egg for a rainy day is a good idea

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The athletics department will use the money it generated from the Fiesta Bowl to create a rainy day fund to use when the football team is less successful.

This is a wise financial move. Splurging because we have money now would jeopardize the future of the program. A few slow seasons spent the reserve and this new money is greatly needed for the financial independence of U athletics.

The money could be given to the general fund, but football earned the money, so it only makes sense that football should keep the money.

But this fact causes the mind to wonder why we’ll still be paying the highest athletic fee in the state if our programs are doing so well financially.

It’s a legitimate question. The computer fee is high, but it benefits a large number of students. The fine arts fee benefits a few, but it’s only $1.50. The athletic fee is huge and only benefits athletes. If teams can generate money, shouldn’t they aim for a level of independence that will lend itself to a smaller athletics fee?

Regardless of whether you would answer that question yes or no, the U is not yet in a position to consider that. But by preserving the rainy day fund, the department prevents a raise in that fee. Lowering the fee is a question for the future.

Until then, the average student should keep in mind the overall gain to the U by having a successful football program.

When athletic teams succeed, they give the school greater visibility. Visibility benefits all students.

Donors are more likely to give to the general fund when teams do well. It’s a fact of life. More wins translate to more gifts from alumni.

Greater visibility increases out of state tuition. The legislature doesn’t actually give the U all the money it needs to educate Utah students. When non-resident students pay out of state tuition, their money covers a lot of the shortfalls of poor legislative funding.

Better yet, good visibility means potential employers have heard of the school you came from. There’s a connection in the public mind between visible schools and good schools. Your degree means more when the person performing your job interview is impressed with your alma mater.

It hurts the pocketbook to be spending so much for sports (especially if they don’t interest you). It’s understandable if you’re wondering why they need your money if they made so much in the bowl game.

But keep in mind that the football team’s success is also your success. Like education itself, athletics are an investment.