By Nathaniel Wadsworth
For many students, the best seat in the house this football season is literally in the house.
“We watch the games on TV,” said Eve Annandale from Kauai, Hawaii, whose husband is a graduate student at BYU.
The couple would like to go to the games, but the price of the tickets is too much for them.
For two decades BYU students have had to pay to see the football team perform. Today, however, there are still several schools throughout the country where students do not have to buy tickets to attend the football games.
Of the top ten teams in the latest USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, five of them, including the top ranked Miami Hurricanes, do not charge students for football tickets.
Of the five schools in the top ten that do charge the students, the average season ticket price is $67.
The BYU All Sports pass, which sold out days after going on sale, is valid for all home athletic events and costs $75. Students can also buy individual football tickets for $14.
David Miles, BYU ticket manager, said schools that do not sell student tickets cover the price of tickets in tuition and other fees. That way, even the students who do not want to attend athletic events help subsidize the programs.
Miles said that although it would be easier to just charge all the students through tuition and other fees, BYU decided it would be better to give the students a choice.
Jeffrey Cannon, 23, a junior from West Lynn, Ore. majoring in political science, agrees with Miles.
“I don”t pay for other people to go to the movie, why should I pay for people to go to a football game,” Cannon said.
According to a May 31 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, most colleges that play big-time sports do not generate enough revenue to support the athletic programs. Schools are forced to look to other sources for subsidization – like students and faculty.
This is the case at BYU.
Duff Tittle, associate athletic director of communications, said the money students pay for sports events is necessary to cover the operating costs of the athletic programs.
“Over the last six years we”ve had two years when we broke even,” Tittle said.
Tittle said the annual deficit for the athletic department ranges from $200 thousand to $600 thousand.
Tittle said the department really began having financial trouble when the Western Athletic Conference expanded to sixteen teams. Money going to the conference then had to be divided sixteen ways.
Tittle said that is part of the reason BYU, along with seven other schools, left the WAC to form the Mountain West Conference. Since then, the athletic department has been doing much better financially.