One main focus emerged during the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting last Monday evening: student involvement in athletics.
President Drew Rogers opened the meeting’s discussion by emphasizing the need for students to support campus athletic teams. Rogers hopes to increase attendance at games, ultimately aiming to keep NCAA Division I athletics at UMKC.
“The Senate Faculty Committee has had a subcommittee on athletics for a couple of years now, and they just released their findings, I believe yesterday, regarding the future of athletics at this school,” Rogers said. “The committee made no recommendations on whether or not to stay in D-I athletics. I think that is a little concerning.”
Rogers noted the athletics department has an expensive budget and low attendance from students, but urged that athletics at NCAA’s top-tier level remains important to the school itself.
During open forum, members questioned why students should continue to bolster athletic teams when most did not choose UMKC for athletics. Rather, a number of students expressed greater concern for department funds or library hours.
“We’re not looking to expand athletics or contribute more from the general fund than is already being contributed,” Rogers explained. “What I would hope to see from our student body and our student senate is growing support, but not spending more dollars.”
Athletes in the senate spoke about feeling the loss of funding and student engagement. They also pointed out that UMKC spends significantly less on its athletic budget then other Division I programs.
Other members of the senate stated that fighting for Division I athletics today ensures UMKC’s ability to grow in future years.
After the discussion, the group created a budget committee that will set spending priorities for the university, including athletics and other programs.