by Weston Coward and Vincent Cunningham
Staff Writer and Publisher
On Jan. 23, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill which places a cap on the percentage of mandatory student fees used to fund athletics in four-year public institutions of higher education in Virginia. According to parameters set by House Bill 1897, the student fee contribution to total athletic revenue cannot exceed 70 percent for Division 1-AA schools, like William & Mary.
The bill was proposed after last year’s Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found that nearly 70 percent of Virginia schools’ athletic budget came from mandatory student fees while only three percent of Virginia students participated in varsity sports.
According to William & Mary’s revenue and expense report for the year ending in June of 2014, last year each full-time student paid $1,665 in mandatory fees. Totalling at $11.7 million, this tuition money contributed 50 percent of the athletic revenue; 20 percent less than the newly established limit.
College Spokesperson Brian Whitson emphasized in an email that the statewide cap does not necessarily imply an increase in athletic fees.
“The Board of Visitors has had a policy target of 50 percent, or close to 50 percent. I have not heard any discussions about changing that approach,” Whitson said.
Like many colleges, William & Mary generates revenue off of its athletic programs, but financial costs typically outpace revenue. For instance, in 2014, total revenue for William & Mary individual sports totaled $10.7 million and costs reached $18.5 million.
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