Division I? Not Now: A Student’s Perspective
[The following was posted on by UCSD student Kevin Quirolo on Facebook on February 1, 2012]
A new referendum proposing to fund Division 1 sports with student fees will be open to vote between February 27 and March 9th. The referendum will charge students $165 per quarter. This amount is based on the recommendation from an athletics consultant. That consultant said an extra $5 million per year was the bare minimum needed to get into D-1, but an extra $13 million to be “competitive.” Here is A.S. President Allyssa Wing on being competitive:
“We don’t want to be a university that is only in D-I but is not competitive,” Wing said. “We want to be able to provide scholarships [for] top-notch talent [that we] want to come to our campus. The number is a little higher than the projection, but that is to maintain our program and ensure that we don’t have to keep going back to students with more referendums” 
Last year, Wing and A.S. Council killed a referendum to fund the re-opening of CLICS with an $8 dollar quarterly fee. Here is Wing on that issue:
“If A.S. came to students for fees, it opens up a lot of doors for the future of how A.S. is seen,” Wing said. “It’s a dangerous direction.” Wing said that creating the position of vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion suggests that there is money to fund the libraries. “If there is money to create a [new administrative] position, why are we closing down libraries?” Wing said. 
An op-ed in the Guardian focused its argument on name recognition. He claimed, “the move will have only positive effects for the university.”  But the fee increase will not have “only positive” effects for students. The $165 fee constitutes a 16% increase in ‘campus fees,’ the fees which UCSD students have most control over (as opposed to mandatory fees, which are set by the regents).  The fee will more than double the current $120 intercollegiate athletics fee.  Students have already paid $14,000 for a consultant from Athletic Staffing and Consultants.  And other UC campuses are considering spending less on athletics as the state and the UC get increasingly short of funds. 
Our athletes consistently rank at the top of Division II, and some teams are already in Division I conferences. They deserve recognition for their achievements. The issue of raising fees is not about our athletes dedication and excellence, which no one should question. It is about fairness. We all deserve a cheaper public education.
Last year, 48% of UCSD students graduated with debt, at an average of $18,757.  The average amount of debt of UCSD graduates has increased 20% over the last ten years.  Athletics are important, but we are currently in a state of fiscal and financial crisis and some of us cannot afford to forfeit the cost of an expensive textbook every quarter.
Why are we raising fees on ourselves when students at other colleges opposing fee increases are being beaten and peppered sprayed?
If the UC was not convulsing with a looming $1.5 billion short fall in 2015, D-1 would be great our athletes deserve it. We are all suffering through budget crisis together. We should all pull together, and see this issue in the context of the broader crisis facing the UC, the state of California and the US.