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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Columns

Administration should prioritize education over athletics in funding decisions


The University of Houston recently allocated $100 million to a new practice stadium. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

I’ll sit in the bleachers at every home game we have. I’ll talk about football to the best of my ability, get mad when we lose and celebrate when we win.

That being said, none of that enthusiasm justifies the amount of money UH funnels into our team without offering the same dedication to other aspects of the University. The argument that is repeated over and over is that a robust football culture will bring in more applicants and donors. With more donors, there is more money to spend.

This works to an extent. The key is spending the money that we get from new donors on something other than our football team. Spending money on a new practice field seems like something that should be much lower on the University’s to-do list than other items.

Even sidewalks, for one, would be a great use of money along with expenditures for art and science students.

Lab fees are a significant in getting an education, and they are an expected expense for students. Equipment is not cheap, and someone needs to pay for it.

When those lab fees could be avoided, however, by not going millions over budget for a new stadium, or perhaps spending less on a new practice facility, why not make a change in spending?

The school could save those students money — students who are just as valuable as our football players but are frequently overlooked when it comes to academic funding.

UH wants to be a school with a rampant football culture, so it’s funneled more than $100 million from academics into the program in recent years, according to the Texas Tribune.

We need to focus on academics.

Research and travel opportunities to increase the global objectives of the University are incredibly important. In college, future leaders are molded and foundations are crafted that will shape legislative decisions. School shapes the lives and the thoughts of the students who attend.

UH needs to give those future leaders and decision makers the ability to make educated decisions.

Cougars are in the bleachers for a semester, but we’re in classes all year long. Making the classrooms more conducive to learning is just one of many ways to better the intellectual experience.

The buildings don’t need to be torn apart and built back up, but they could use reliable air conditioning and updated desks — especially in Agnes Arnold Hall.

A better classroom means a better learning experience, which also helps the school with its goal of creating a culture that will bring in more applicants.

Reallocating money from football and to academics isn’t just a passing phase or a general desire of a few students. It’s a necessity — one that the leaders of our University need to think about seriously.

Columnist Jackie Wostrel is a public relations sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]

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  • PartyFavor

    This is a poorly researched article. Obvious that the author has no idea what they are talking about. Next time, get more facts.

    For one, the money “funneled” from academics to athletics that the Texas Tribune shows is mostly tied up in scholarships. Needless to say, scholarships don’t really “cost” UH money, the university just doesn’t make any money from scholarship athletes.

    Second, donations to athletics are for athletics as deemed by the donater. That money can’t just be funneled to the academic side without getting approval from the donater first. The new practice facility, the Fertitta Center, in fact, all the new buildings that athletics is building are being built completely with donated money. Yes, TDECU was built with student fees, however, blame your predecessors for voting to allow UH to raise the fees of students to pay for it. Still, fee increases were a very small percentage of your total bill.

    If anything, blame the state of Texas for higher fees and tuition. Their lack of funding over that last decade or two has forced universities all over Texas to push the costs on to students. Tuition and fees at UH is in line with every other public 4-year University in Texas, which is a problem that is a big topic in Texas politics right now.

    Point is, stop harping on athletics and do more research on the reasons why student tuition is so high. We need better educated students in order to fight for money from the state in the future.

    • David

      TX for the last 20 years has not wanted to fund education properly.

      The public school fund should be immediately repurposed to include all public schools evenly based on enrollment.

      Yes it is all donated money. I think the point being made is why isn’t a billion extra being raised and going into academics.

      The long game is realignment in college sports which will happen again. UH needs to be ready for that event ahead of time. Then it will be ahead of the curve with additional revenue that will be generated. The fact is for most people their first gateway to hear about a school is through sports.

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