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UNT students to vote on increase in athletics fee

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

North Texas students will vote on a potential increase in student fees this week that would significantly boost funding for the school's athletic department.

UNT currently has a fee of $10 per semester credit hour for athletics. The school's athletic department also receives a portion of a student services fee.

The proposal would increase UNT's athletics fee to $16.25 per semester credit hour but would eliminate the student services fee. The result would be a net increase for students of $4.25 per credit hour that would provide the athletic department an additional $3.5 million per year.

The vote will continue through Wednesday.

UNT's student athletics fee would still be 30 percent lower than the average in Conference USA and 19 percent below the fees charged by Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, two programs that UNT considers peers in the state, according to a UNT study. UTSA also is a member of Conference USA.

UNT athletic director Wren Baker said the increase in funding will help the Mean Green athletic department in several areas, including improving facilities, travel and recruiting budgets in addition to increasing marketing and promotions aimed at students.

"We have been able to create a lot of momentum in the last year," Baker said. "Every revenue stream has increased, but getting a student fee that is competitive is critical. We are doing more with less but would like to move toward the average of Conference USA, and this fee is still well below the average. We think even with this increase we can continue to get tremendous results."

UNT has seen significant signs of improvement since Baker took over as athletic director in the fall of 2016.

The school's football team won the C-USA West Division title this fall and will face Troy in the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 16. The UNT soccer team won the C-USA tournament and played in the NCAA tournament, while its volleyball team won the conference's regular-season title.

UNT's student athletics fee was originally created to help fund construction of Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.