For the four years I’ve been attending TCU, our athletics program has been generous toward students, giving every TCU student free admission to all home sporting events.The TCU athletic department has proven that it supports the student body and values student attendance at its sporting events.
But how generous and supportive is it toward faculty and staff?
I guess it depends on how you look at things.
TCU faculty and staff must pay to attend all ticketed sporting events. They don’t get free admission like students do.
However, they do get discounted admission if they buy various passes.
Phyllis Ballinger, the TCU assistant ticket manager, said reserved seats for faculty members at all the home football games this year were $50 for faculty and staff. For everyone else, they were $125.
She said faculty and staff can also purchase a general admission pass for an additional $25, which entitles them to attend all other ticketed sports. The pass works like a student ID card: A faculty or staff member gets a card that they can flash to gain admission to events.
It’s a really good deal.
But money is not the only consideration.
I think it would be nice to see my favorite professors and staff members at the games. Mingling with them outside of the academic environment would help build stronger faculty/staff and student relationships.
What could be more educational than learning about others outside the classroom?
Marsha Ramsey, director for the Center for Academic Services, said it’s proven that if a student develops a strong relationship with a faculty or staff member, the student is more likely to stay at TCU instead of transferring.
So is athletics considering providing faculty and staff free tickets?
Not right now, says Jack Hesselbrock, the associate athletic director for internal operations.
He says the prices of the discounted tickets are a good deal and he doesn’t hear a lot of complaints about.
He said ticket prices are good compared to other schools in the Mountain West Conference. He agreed that faculty and staff members do deserve some benefits for working at TCU. He said that is why the discount ticket plans are in place.
With the proposal to give faculty and staff free tickets comes funding issues.
Hesselbrock said TCU athletics no longer gets money to make up for the free tickets it is giving to students.
So while faculty/staff ticket sales aren’t the main source of ticket revenue, the athletic department would lose a source of revenue and funding.
Ticket sales make up about 50 percent of the TCU athletic revenue each year, Hesselbrock said. Distribution of money among MWC teams who do well athletically and money from television appearances makes up the majority of the remainder.
There is also the issue of making sure there are enough general admission seats set aside for them. For example, athletics might have a high demand for seats one season but not all faculty and staff members will attend the games. Seats might remain empty, limiting the number of people allowed into games.
There is also the argument that students are provided free tickets to sporting events and some don’t take advantage of the privilege. I rarely see faculty and staff because, in theory, they are sitting across the stadium in the reserved section – as far away from students as possible.
I’m a firm believer, though, that people should be able to see their school’s team play if they want. Money should not keep faculty and staff away.
Each university employee should get one free pass into each sporting event. If other family members want to see TCU play, they need to pay like the rest of the community.
The faculty and staff should, theoretically, be the core of a university. Students rotate in and out year to year, but many faculty and staff members have made their careers and lives at TCU. They should reap the benefits.
Janelle Stecklein is a senior news-editorial and political science major from Plano.