College Media Mad Money #3: Where Do Students’ Recreation Sports Fees Go? (@TheLantern #sports)

Students at Ohio State University pay a combined $14 million in student fees each year that go toward funding OSU recreational sports, a recent report in The Lantern confirmed.  How is that money spent exactly?  Umm, well, OSU officials are not exactly ready to say.

In an investigation that is almost stunning for the confusion it caused among admins., Lantern staff writers Thomas Bradley and Sarah Stemen were given numerous runarounds that boiled down to one basic sentiment: There is no current organized, itemized list outlining how the rec fees are spent.  Yikes.

It is not an inconsiderable oversight given the amount of the expense, especially as it pertains to the larger student fees culture at many schools worldwide.  For example, as Bradley and Stemen wrote, “Fees such as the Rec Sports fee, the Student Activity fee, the Student Legal Services fee, the Student Union Facility fee and the COTA Bus Service fee are not included in the posted cost of tuition. . . . In a four-year period, students at OSU pay $3,676 in required fees.

Bottom line: It’s time for some recreational, and financial, reporting.

Related Questions

What are the student recreational services offered at your school?  What are students’ assessments of their quality, popularity, and financial worth?  In respect to the latter, how much do students pay in rec fees, individually and in total?  Who is in charge of the related funds?  What is the decision process on how to utilize the money?  What input do students have?  What would students like to see added or improved within the current rec landscape?  How much do the rec fees compare to other fees paid by students?  And in deference to the fantastic Lantern infographic below, how does your school’s rec fees compare to the fee-age at other area schools or schools in your athletics conference or schools of similar size nationwide?

Multimedia Options

1) On the off-chance your school is organized and has an itemized breakdown of how rec fee funding is spent, offer a photo slideshow of the various uniforms, equipment, employees, and facilities receiving fee money with captions confirming the amount spent on each.  2) Capture a video report of an activity or service funded by the rec fees that is not on most students’ radar or surging in popularity.  This semester, it’s Zumba3) Or show the rec fees in action at a time most students aren’t awake or in a sporting mood.  For example, tell the story of the 24-hour fitness center at 2 a.m. on a weekend night, focusing on the stories of the student working there and those working out at that odd hour.

Offbeat Option

Follow a ragtag recreational sports team with a crazy name from its first practice to its amazing playoff run— capturing the joy of sport, the priceless camaraderie, and the varying quality of the athletic talent displayed along the way.  While rec/club/intramural sports are often left out of student press coverage in favor or interscholastic awesomeness, many of the students who compete bring true zeal and interesting back-stories to their fields of play that deserve an occasional spotlight.

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