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ASU A.D. Anderson: New fee gives students more ownership of Sun Devil athletics

LISTEN: Ray Anderson, Arizona State athletic director

A lot has been made of a new $150 fee that will be imposed on Arizona State University students to help fund the athletic department.

“The thing that is really most positive about that is the students themselves were a big part of advocating for that,” ASU athletic director Ray Anderson told the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “Because they know that in exchange for that, they will now have a significant say in the things that they would like to see in terms of the amenities that will benefit them.”

It will also benefit ASU, who will now have more money coming into its athletic department.

“They know that their support will help with facilities and amenities and the ability to market and do things more creatively that hopefully, at the end of the day, will give them a better experience not just in the football arena, but in everything they do and touch related to inter-collegiate athletics,” Anderson said. “It really is a win-win.”

Arizona State is not the only school to institute a fee of this nature. In fact, a good portion of the Pac-12’s schools already have something similar in place.

“This isn’t unique to us,” Anderson said. “It’s actually more the norm than the exception. We are, frankly, catching up.”

The first-year A.D. added that what this does is ultimately give the student body a feeling of partnership with the athletic department, as now they will now be more invested in what all of the school’s teams are doing.

“If you have already paid a student fee, then hopefully that will encourage them to say, ‘You know what, let’s not just go to football and basketball; let’s go see the softball and the tennis and the track and field and the sand volleyball and the swimming and diving. Hell, we’re making an investment in our student athlete and our athletic department, let’s go take advantage of it.'”

Anderson said the hope is that that will be one of the fees positive effects, and that the students, when discussions of the fee were going on, seemed excited to help market and support all of the school’s sports.

“I, as an incoming athletic director, I was floored by that excitement and enthusiasm,” Anderson said.

Of course, whenever a tax of sorts is levied — especially for something that not everyone will benefit from — there is always the chance that there will be some upset people.

After all, it does not matter if you care about the athletic department or not, you’re paying anyway.

That’s perhaps why not all schools have enacted such a fee, including the University of Arizona, where the school’s A.D. Greg Byrne has said the school has chosen not to do it.

But Anderson said the fee, which passed with help from the school’s student government, has not been met with animosity or anger.

“Our students are supportive of it and as long as the ASU students, who are really the stakeholders, have supported it, really that is what is important,” he said. “We can show that this is the norm in most athletic departments, not the exception.

“So the fact that some schools would choose to not do this and do it another way, that’s their prerogative. But we don’t expect anything from our students but positive because they were a big part of leading the charge.”