Texas A&M University-San Antonio wants to hear from students about a program which will impact the future of our campus. March 18 is the last day to vote on the athletics program referendum. Students will have until 5 p.m. on Friday to cast their ballots either for or against the referendum.
If it passes, the program will bring sports teams to the school beginning in the fall of 2020 with men’s and women’s soccer, women’s softball and men’s golf.. Men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and esports, or competitive video games, would follow in the fall of 2021.
Marissa Lyssy, student body president, said the student body senate is in favor of the vote. She said it’s a good opportunity to attract new students to A&M-San Antonio which will increase student enrollment.
“There are not a lot of campuses around here that would offer esports,” Lyssy said. “If we were to bring it here, this would be a unique opportunity to bring to campus and students could also get scholarships to play for our school.”
La-Tieka Sims, junior finance major, said this could offer students many new opportunities which are not currently available at A&M-San Antonio.
“When you think of sports, you have to think of everything that comes with it,” Sims said. “There is cheerleading and the types of events that comes with promoting. And think about homecoming.”
A&M-San Antonio would be a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Red River Athletic Conference.
The 12 schools A&M-San Antonio would compete against in the conference are the University of Houston-Victoria, Houston-Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian College, Louisiana State University-Alexandria, Louisiana State University-Shreveport, Our Lady of the Lake University, Paul Quinn College, University of the Southwest (NM), University of St. Thomas, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Texas College and Wiley College.
Lyssy said if A&M-San Antonio enters the conference, it will be the largest of the competing schools.
Education senior Leatre Cooper said she voted in favor for the athletics referendum because sports gives students additional opportunities to participate in school and feel connected.
“My son has a learning disability and sports was a way to settle him down because he was always active,” Cooper said. “Sports was a push to get him to go to college.”
Education senior, Gabriel Garza said he hopes the vote passes because he wants to bring sports to the south side of San Antonio.
“A lot of schools do not recruit in San Antonio,” Garza said “I want to be a part of this and bring a basketball team, whether men or women, to the university.”
If the referendum passes, the vote will add $10 per credit hours to the cost of tuition, but will not exceed $120 per semester.
“When it comes to increases and student activities fees, the university can not do it without student voices,” Sims said. “They have to get their feedback.”
Student feedback is essential because the university understands that some students might not be in favor of the referendum. Psychology junior Di’Shanic Holt said she thinks the athletics program would benefit the school, but she has concerns about the additional tuition cost.
“I know it’s only $10 per class, but that $10 can go somewhere else for me,” Holt said. “If it’s added to every class, that adds up because I usually take six classes each semester. That’s my main concern.”
The athletic fees will fund the athletic director, equipment, recreational/athletic center and program costs.
Sims said the fees will help build the student experience. But students are encouraged to vote so their voice can be heard.
“When you look at growth, growth isn’t free,” Sims said. “If students want to see the campus expand or have a more enriched experience, well it costs money. This is an investment in the growth and development of this campus and the student experience.”
Students can vote at tables which are set up in lobbies of buildings around campus or they can vote online through JagSync.
Students who vote will automatically be enroll to win a Fitbit.
For more information, visit http://www.tamusa.edu/athletics/.
Story contributor: Joyce Raposo.