The Journal of SPORT


Intercollegiate athletics is an increasingly expensive venture in American higher education. Noted athletic powers have budgets exceeding $100 million, and schools with lesser reputations increase athletic budgets despite lacking the ability to generate large sums of revenue through ticket sales and other sources. Higher education is faced with declining amounts of non-student support for academic and non-academic programs (Vedder & Denhart, 2010). Public institutions increasingly rely on funds provided by institutional subsidies and student activity fees (Vedder & Denhart, 2010; Chapman, Ridpath, & Denhart, 2014). This mixed-methods study addresses, using Asymmetrical Information Theory (Akerlof, 1970), student perceptions of student activity fees. The population is represented by students (n=3,282) enrolled during the 2012-13 academic year at institutions in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Findings suggest students are aware of the fees, but not aware of the amount or purpose. Many expressed concern about transparency and affordability of education because of the amount of subsidies to fund athletic programs.