Taft College is one of the only – and perhaps THE only – California community college that does not routinely charge admission for sporting events.
That will change once fall semester sports get rolling early next month.
TC's board of trustees has endorsed a recommendation to impose a fee for athletic events beginning with the new school year that begins next Monday.
Budget cuts were a factor, but not the primary reason for implementing the fee, said Athletic Director Kanoe Bandy.
“This is something we’ve been talking about for a long time,” she said. “I’ve resisted it, but these lean budgets gave us a reason to go forward with it. The biggest point really is an effort to put a value on what we do in athletics.”
The money generated by charging admission will provide a little help for the athletic budget. The college has had to rely more on its own fund-raising and help from the TC Foundation, according to Brock McMurray, vice president of student services.
“We took a look at the schools in our conference and found that we are the only school that does not charge admission,” he said in a memo to the board.
The real benefit, Bandy said, is in valuing the athletic program.
“It makes our athletes and coaches believe what they are doing is important – that it has value,” she said. “That’s why we decided to make that request.”
The fees are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. Admitted free will be children under age 8 and college faculty, staff and students with ID cards.
A survey of other colleges in the conference – Fresno, Merced, Porterville, Reedley, Sequoias, and West Hills showed the average fee was $6 for adults and $4 for students.
The new fees will go into effect when Cougar soccer and volleyball teams begin home matches. Soccer home matches begin Sept. 24 when the Cougar women and men host Santa Barbara City College.
The first home volleyball match won’t happen until Sept. 26 when the Cougars open Central Valley Conference play against Fresno City College.
In the past TC has only charged admission for playoffs, which are mandated by the state, and for special fund-raising events.