Additional athletics fees floated

Queen’s examining payments at other Ontario schools

BEWIC Sports Days, shown above, could come with a fee attached soon.
BEWIC Sports Days, shown above, could come with a fee attached soon.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
Duane Parliament says most people are understanding about paying fees for intramural sports.
Duane Parliament says most people are understanding about paying fees for intramural sports.
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Next year, you might be paying more for that aerobics class, Pilates session or intramural volleyball team.

Although it doesn’t explicitly recommend the institution of fees for intramural sports, the Athletics and Recreation Review asks Leslie Dal Cin, Athletics and Recreation Chair to “commission a report on fees for instructional programs at other universities along with recommendations for possible fees for any Campus Recreation programs at Queens.” Right now, students’ annual athletics and recreation fee subsidizes their participation in intramural sports, instructional programs and V.I.P. fitness classes.

Dal Cin said Queen’s offers a significant number of services for the amount students pay.

“Being a residential campus, I think it’s important that we provide opportunity. I think the approach of a one-fee-covers-all is more conducive to that. But in saying that, the service that we provide for the athletics fee is fairly significant.”

Students pay subsidized rates for the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies’ instructional programs such as Pilates and yoga. The rates range from about $40 to $109 for the fall semester, depending on the program.

“We transfer dollars from Campus Recreation to support the discounted student fee, so that’s another expense that comes out of our programming,” Dal Cin said.

V.I.P. Fitness, an instructional program covered by students’ annual fees, is administered by Athletics and Recreation. Students can take those courses for free if they’ve paid their athletics fee.

Dal Cin said the department is also considering charging students to attend interuniversity games. Currently, a valid student card grants students free admission to all regular-season Golden Gaels games.

“I’m always mindful of the fact that if you don’t pay anything, sometimes you get the feeling that there’s no value,” she said. “I think that what we would do is go out and talk to some students, and see what they think would be reasonable.”

Dal Cin said charging for games could help athletics and recreation financially.

“When we look at the opportunity for self-generated revenue, if we were to look at 30 percent capacity at all our games, that’s $600,000,” she said. “That’s a significant amount of money, and that’s charging $2 per head.”

Dal Cin is also looking to focus on promoting, which is difficult under the current model where students get in free.

“Clearly we need to promote the games better, but how do you run a promotion when you don’t have any money to promote, because your prime audience isn’t paying to get in? Clearly that’s a cycle we need to break.”

Dal Cin said athletics and recreation is considering a study of other schools’ fees.

“We’re prepared to allocate a significant number of hours to that study … it should be a part of our regular programming cycle,” she said.

Intramurals Co-ordinator Duane Parliament said it’s hard to say whether students should pay more for certain athletic activities.

“It’s a tough one to answer … I like the faculty-based system we have now, where there’s always an opportunity to play,” he said. “But if there’s only so many dollars, there’s only so much you can do.”

This year, for the first time, students playing on intramural ice hockey teams must pay a fee of $200 per team, plus a deposit of $250 that is refunded at the end of the season provided the team attends all games.

In previous years students paid only $100 in deposits and didn’t pay a fee.

Parliament said the added fees will help pay for ice time and officials. The University is using rinks in Napanee and Kingston’s Memorial Centre while the Queen’s Centre’s new arena is under construction.

“The money that we recover from the bonds goes to pay the officials and facility rental,” he said.

Parliament said most people understand the fees are necessary.

“The people that I’ve talked to, for the most part, have been very understanding about having to charge a fee this year,” he said. “When you sit down and consider $200 for a team of 15 players, it’s $13 a season, so I won’t call it a hardship.”

Some students are continuing to play despite the additional fees.

Bryan Hoy, ArtSci ’10, played intramural ice hockey last season. He said the new fees and inconvenient commute to games could detract from the fun of intramurals.

“It’s an inconvenience to have to bus out there. The ice times are not exactly the most ideal times—some of our games start at 11:59, so this year we probably won’t get back until 2:30 some nights.”

Hoy said he sees why the fee is necessary, but thinks it will make students think twice about participating in hockey intramurals.

“I believe there will be a drop in numbers just because of convenience and the extra money to play,” he said.

Hoy, who attends the occasional varsity game, says an extra fee would deter him from further attendance.

“I watched a hockey game because I knew a player on the team,” he said. “If I were going to watch the game for fun I wouldn’t want to pay the extra fee.”

Hoy said he thinks students would have mixed reactions to instating fees for programs now covered by the athletics fee.

“I think some people would still continue to go, but others would be turned off by the fee.”

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