If it ensured your school would make a Final Four, would you be willing to add $50 to your annual tuition?
Most students that give a whiff about college hoops would answer "yes" without much hesitation. And so it is so for the undergraduates at Virginia Commonwealth University, who will be putting some change into the hat to help pay for the university's athletics budget. After spurning more lucrative offers from other schools in April, Shaka Smart opted to stay at VCU and receive a raise for doing so, earning reportedly $1.2 million per year.
VCU's overall university fee will increase $50 per full-time student for the 2011-12 school year, and the athletics department will receive a greater percentage of total fee revenue than it did in 2010-11, VCU spokeswoman Pam Lepley said Monday. The result, Lepley said, will be an $875,000 net revenue increase for athletics. Based on 2010-11 enrollment, that's an increase of roughly $30.50 for each full-time student.VCU, a public university, will now also charge $700 more per year in tuition. There is a distinction and difference, as tuition money cannot legally go toward funding athletics; thus: fees. These decisions weren't made exclusively because of Smart's salary, but they certainly play a role. In a sense, this isn't all that uncommon. While in college, I was at the student newspaper, and being part of such an enterprise, you get the chance to see how the wheels are greased at higher-education institutions. These kinds of fees are slipped into tuitition costs all the time, often for things many would find completely unfair.
Fortunately Shaka Smart is such a valued commodity, this new arithmetic won't bother too many. This could be beneficial for the university in terms of public relations, when you consider VCU will absolutely receive a bump in applications after such a prominent run on the national stage.
If there was ever a time to make this kind of move, it's now, when the school has a popular young coach who's helped put the school and the basketball program on a level it's never been before.