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Boston College's Athletics Relies Heavily on Student Activity Fees

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Brian: Backing The Pack recently took a look at the ACC's athletic department financial situations, as AD Debbie Yow is bemoaning the fact that N.C. State doesn't have the funding to achieve a top-25 athletics program. I found it interesting to hear that within the ACC, Boston College charges the most in student fees to support the athletics department. In fact, BC collects more than $9 million more in student fees each year than N.C. State.

Based on figures from the Equity in Athletics data site, we can find out that BC hauled in $14,107,165 in student fees. That figure is nearly 22 percent of the athletic department's total revenues. Here is the percentage of revenue that student fees makes up in the ACC:

Program Student Fees Revenue % of Total Revenue
Wake Forest $10,828,671 $42,253,156 25.6%
Boston College $14,107,165 $64,502,395 21.9%
Miami $12,253,520 $56,084,064 21.8%
Duke $13,993,369 $68,536,289 20.4%
Maryland $9,185,766 $51,641,771 17.8%
Georgia Tech $7,447,346 $46,983,216 15.9%
Clemson $9,045,630 $57,562,999 15.7%
Virginia $11,231,866 $81,841,632 13.7%
Virginia Tech $7,690,542 $58,115,929 13.2%
N.C. State $5,084,724 $50,335,991 10.1%
North Carolina $6,666,305 $67,613,805 9.9%
Florida State $6,960,132 $75,209,179 9.3%

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the four private schools in the conference -- Boston College, Wake Forest, Duke and Miami -- all top this list in the ACC. As a conference, the ACC along with the Big East top the list for programs that rely most on student activity fees. These two conferences also bring in the least amount of football revenue among BCS auto-qualifying conferences. Coincidence? Probably not.

Are you comfortable with over 1/5 of the athletic department's budget coming from student activity fees? Any ideas on how to increase revenues, thereby decreasing the reliance on student activity fees?

Jeff: Absolutely. I am comfortable with student fees being such a high percentage of revenue because we are a private school and the other private schools in the conference are relying on similar percentages. Also, the ACC and BC did not have a great year for generating revenue. That makes the fixed revenue of student fees a higher percentage than it might be in a future year where BC's ticket sales are better or where the ACC gets two teams in BCS bowls or more teams into the NCAA Tournament.

Some people are against students subsidizing athletics but I certainly am not. I believe it is easily justifiable because of all the exposure the university gets through big time athletics. BC gets to show an academics commercial for every nationally televised sporting event. The more games that get on ESPN and ABC for both football and basketball -- rather than or any form of TV -- the better off BC is as a whole. The university gets exposure it could not otherwise afford and this helps admissions in the future. More quality students applying to and attending BC helps our academic rankings in the future.

Higher ticket sales and cost controls which are within the control of the BC Athletics Department will help to reduce student fees in the future, but the big thing that will help BC reduce fees with be the success of the ACC. Things like a second team making a BCS bowl or the league being able to negotiate better bowl tie-ins with bigger payouts. It is no surprise that the teams charging the highest student fees are those from the two AQ conferences that haven't been able to get an at-large team into the BCS.