Inside Higher Ed
by Greta Anderson
February 22, 2021
Members of the student government at the University of Oregon were reviewing their $17 million annual budget last summer when they came across a decades-old contract with the athletics department, which gave students access to tickets for football and basketball games. About 10 percent of the student government budget, or $1.7 million, was going to the athletics department each year in exchange for “free” student tickets to athletic events, according to members of the Student Senate’s Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee.
The discovery immediately raised red flags. The university had canceled athletic events during the spring term because of the pandemic, and students were not attending any sporting events on campus. The Ducks' upcoming fall football season was also in question.
What's more, committee members said, the tickets aren't free, and they're not guaranteed.
Under the current contract, students pay $25.50 each during the fall, winter and spring terms for access to tickets, even if they don’t attend any athletic events, according to Annika Mayne, a student senator and chair of the committee. The fee gives students access to a lottery for a game ticket, not an actual ticket. The charge is part of a mandatory $271.50 Incidental Fee, which funds student government programs and clubs and is paid by students each term.