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Syracuse Student Government Considers $100 Student-Athletic Fee

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The Student Association of Syracuse University had a big night on Monday, electing new officials and laying out agendas, one of which is a potential student-athletic fee that would eliminate student tickets.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange football & basketball attendance.

That's all I had to say to get your endorphins up, right? You're immediately reaching for the nearest communication device and social media outlet to shout your complaints and concerns.

The Syracuse University student government thinks they've got a fix for you. Not to the entire issue, mind you. The locals are still on their own. But Student Association president Aysha Seedat said she plans to discuss a student-athletic fee with new athletic director Mark Coyle.

Per the Daily Orange (Our Michael Burke, to be specific, all growns up...):

Under Seedat’s proposal, students would be charged a $100 student athletic fee, which would cover season ticket costs for both sports. Currently, students must buy season tickets separately through the Carrier Dome Box Office. A football and men’s basketball combo package costs $219.

This isn't a new concept. It's something many other schools are already doing. Students are already charged activities fees and this could just be an extension of that. It would lower costs for students who already attend games and perhaps lower the barrier to entry for students who don't currently attend games due to costs.

As Chris Carlson points out, the proposed $100 fee would be pretty low compared to other schools. Virginia Tech currently charges $288 and Virginia charges a whopping $657. Carlson also points out that, the fee could raise $1.9M in guaranteed revenue a year.

On paper, it sounds like a no-brainer. Students get a cheaper football & basketball experience and student attendance should increase.

But...I can't help but feel like it won't have an effect on attendance. There's probably an Econ professor out there who can explain it better but cost isn't the barrier to entry that we assume it is for most students. The barrier to entry for most students is that they don't care. I don't mean that in a "students today are bad sports fans" kind of way. I just mean, while a small percentage of students who don't go now will be able to go under this arrangement, it's not really that many students.

I know that if you're reading this you're probably a sports fan. You're probably friends with a lot of sports fans. Naturally you'd all take advantage of this deal. But the factual truth is that there are more people in any given group that don't care about sports than there are that do. It's not that the 17,000 SU students who didn't go to the LSU game only missed it because of cost. 75-80% of them missed it because, quite frankly, they don't care. Or at least don't care enough to want to be at the game itself. I just can't see the Sunk Cost Fallacy playing out here all that often.

In terms of revenue generation, it's a smart move, as crappy as it sounds to add another required charge to student fees. I don't know if the intended impact is to raise game attendance but my guess is that the effect will be minimal. And really, we're only talking about football here, SU basketball doesn't need any help drawing a crowd as it is.

As we all know deep in our heart of hearts, the only thing that's going to get more people to come to the Dome consistently is winning.