The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Letter to the Editor

While we in SMU Athletics are grateful for Faculty Senate members and The Daily Campus Editorial Board for correcting some of Steven Thompson’s article “$93 million and counting,” we still feel there are several valid points that have not been addressed.

Among the misleading tactics used in the article was the repeated misuse of the term “losses.” SMU made the decision long ago to fund fully and compete successfully in intercollegiate athletics as a member of the NCAA at its highest level, and as Faculty Senate members Dennis Foster, Frederick Olness and Matthew Wilson stated in their letter to the editor (4/1/10), “The spending characterized as ‘losses’ are in fact mostly budgeted expenses for the maintenance of our athletics programs… Calling these expenses ‘losses’ does not accurately reflect SMU’s decision to provide that funding.”

Another trick used by the writer was to sum up six years of budget data to reach his figure of $93 million. He then compared that figure to one year’s tuition and fees for an SMU student, making it appear as if students were being overburdened with these athletic department costs. 17 colleges in Texas charge an athletic fee, some as large as $468 per year, for a student taking a full course load. Conversely, SMU’s Sports Pack fee is only $170 a year and this fee allows students to attend SMU athletic events at no additional cost, including football and basketball.

The article also paints the false picture that the operational expenditures of SMU Athletics are increasing. In FY 2007, SMU Athletics received more than $8 million in university support. In FY 2010, SMU is projected to need only $5.5 million in university support, more than a 30 percent decrease in required funding. To that end, SMU ranks as the 10th-most economically-efficient athletic department in the nation as rated by Texas A&M’s Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Thompson also ignored all the factual positive aspects of an athletic program. As the Daily Campus Editorial Board stressed yesterday, “SMU Athletics provide a vital service to the university by attracting and energizing a quality student population. This aspect is not to be brushed aside… A school’s athletic program brings students and revenue to the university.”

Athletics can play a vital role in SMU’s plan to become one of the leading educational institutions in the United States. As SMU grows its athletic brand, so grows the name, reputation and standing of the university. Study after study supports this concept.

Consider these facts from other schools:

* From 1999 to 2008, the final ranking of the University of Southern California football program rose from No. 48 to No. 2. According to U.S. News and World Report, USC’s academic ranking increased more than any other university over that time period, jumping from No. 41 to No. 27.

* Regionally, the University of Texas has been in the top 20 of the NCAA postseason rankings every season since 1999 and has built a formidable men’s basketball program. Since 2000, applications have soared nearly 56 percent and the admissions rate has plummeted 19 percent.

* In the last nine years (corresponding with its football improvement), applications to Texas Christian University have more than tripled. The school had more than 4,500 applications in 2000. This year, around 14,000 students have applied for 1,400 freshman slots. That number is up 16 percent over last year’s record high.

Now, consider these facts from our own campus:

* The value of publicity received by SMU related to the Hawaii Bowl, as determined by an outside media valuation company, was $30,476,130.71

* Applications to SMU were up 35 percent in January 2010 over January 2009 (immediately following SMU’s bowl win).

We ask all members of the SMU community to support SMU Athletics. We are building a winner here on the Hilltop, and we need your support. Support SMU Athletics by becoming an ambassador for both SMU and SMU Athletics. Attend SMU Athletics events and become involved in the SMU Athletics community.

When you support SMU Athletics, you support SMU’s plan to become one of the nation’s leading educational institutions.

When you support SMU Athletics, you support SMU.

Go Mustangs! Go SMU!

–Brad Sutton
Assistant Athletic Director
Public Relations & Broadcasting

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