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Bernardi grateful that students passed referendum

By Jake Martin
On April 4, 2012

With the passing of the referendum to alter the current student body self-assessed fee to include an additional 4 percent of tuition and fees, athletics will receive $105.12 total in athletic fees per student.

Before the referendum, a full-time student paid $42, and now, students will pay an additional $63.12 toward athletics.

Nicholls athletic director Rob Bernardi estimated that with the self-assessed fee, the overall revenue will increase to $600,000.

Bernardi said he has a great respect and admiration for the students and truly appreciates them passing it.

"I think we're very conscious of the fact that any kind of increase is a sacrifice for everybody," Bernardi said. "Nicholls students are the best in the state, because this is the second time they've passed a self-assessment that has helped athletics."

Before the assessment passed, student paid $3.25 per credit hour towards athletics, which ranked at the bottom in the Southland Conference.

Bernardi said that even though it's a sacrifice for the students, it isn't anything near what other schools around the conference ask for.

"I don't think we're asking for anything near what the other school's are getting," Bernardi said. "Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, for example, gets up to $300 per semester that goes right to athletics."

According to Bernardi, other schools are getting far more than what Nicholls is getting, and the increase in fees will help Nicholls's athletic program succeed. Schools like Sam Houston State University were getting $16 per credit hour toward athletics, and Central Arkansas had its students pay $17 per credit hour toward the program.

So if a student at Central Arkansas takes 10 credit hours, they would pay at least $170 toward athletics. Associate director of Marketing and Development Brandon Ruttley reiterated how important the passing of the fee is for athletics.

"What most people don't realize is that 28 percent of athletic departments' budgets from around the country come from student fees," Ruttley said. "Before this passed, our student fee equated to 6 percent of our budget. In order to become more successful, we have to increase our budget."

Bernardi said that the department has not started planning out the budget in athletics yet, but the money will go to scholarships, team travel, recruiting, equipment and supplies, and staffing.

But Bernardi said he was ecstatic over the students' decision.

"I think the student body has demonstrated again that athletics is important, and that the quality of life on campus is important."


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