Athletic Department pays back student athletes
By Marcellis Lewis
Some may think being a Roosevelt University Laker means free food, uniforms and other amenities, but in reality, they are the ones paying for it.
The university’s athletic department’s budget is almost entirely made up of a percentage taken from student athletes’ tuition. However, there is clear effort made by Athletic Director Michael Cassidy and team coaches to ensure that student athletes are given the best return on their investments.
One of Cassidy’s priorities is balancing and preparing budgets to serve student athletes. Coaches submit budgets for the next season a year in advance. This means that while Cassidy must balance the current budget, he also has to spend a great deal of time preparing the budget for the next year.
The budget process starts with coaches submitting the amounts of funding that they will need for the next fiscal year, which includes funds for traveling, equipment, rental facilities and food.
“It costs about $2,000 to feed and clothe each athlete,” Cassidy said.
Finally, the athletic department allocates funds from the approved budgets to the teams, based on the number of players on the team, amount of travel, equipment needs and need for rental space.
Robyn Sherr-Wells, head coach of the women’s basketball team, expressed that the budget fulfills the needs of her team well.
She said that the bulk of the team’s budget goes toward travel, recruitment and equipment. Another large part of the budget goes toward feeding her players on the road. Meals can cost anywhere from $9 to $12 per player between the pre-season and regular season.
Cassidy said he is constantly thinking of ways he can use the budget to give student athletes the best experience possible.
For example, Cassidy regularly works with all nine head coaches from the university’s various teams to make sure student athletes feel comfortable.
One way Cassidy does this is by renting coach buses for the teams’ travels.
“I see that some schools have their coaches or players driving to and from games in vans—that’s not what I want for our student-athletes,” Cassidy said. “That’s why we rent the coach buses, to ensure that our players are safe and comfortable while traveling.”
Although the majority of the athletic department’s funds come from a percentage taken out the athlete’s tuition, other funding comes from “guaranteed games.”
These games, which are exclusive to the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, are games funded by bigger universities such as University of Illinois at Chicago.
When universities need a certain amount of home games each season to maximize their revenue, they pay for university basketball teams to compete against them on their court.
“This is huge for us because we get, let’s say, $5,000 for a game that only costs as much as gas money,” Cassidy said.
Even with the guaranteed games generating cash flow, student athletes still provide for most of the funding, but Cassidy and the rest of the athletic dep