My name is ENTER NAME. The school that I will be representing is Georgia State University (Not to be confused with the University of Georgia Bulldogs). Georgia State University—also referred to as Georgia State or State—is public commuter school located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The university was founded in 1913 initially as a night school but grew to a full-time university in the later 1940s. State is a part of the University System of Georgia's four research universities and has over 32,000 undergraduate and graduate students as of fall 2015 (Georgia State University: Quick Facts). Majority of the student population is full-time. The university boasts 100 fields of study as well as 250 degree programs that offered across its eight colleges (Georgia State University: Quick Facts)
About Georgia State University
The Georgia State athletic program competes at the Division I level and is a member of the Sunbelt conference which encompasses teams from the several southern states to include: Appalachian State University, Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Georgia Southern University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the University of South Alabama, Texas State University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Troy University. State has sixteen sports teams ranging from basketball, soccer, tennis, football, volleyball, track, and the recently added sand volleyball. The athletic program’s induction into the conference was mostly a move for the recently established football team. Within its inception in 2010, during the 2013-2014 season the Georgia State University football team which competed at the highest level in the NCAA only recorded one win (Wolverton, Hallman, Shifflett, & Kambhampati, 2015).
Georgia State Football
The football program’s lack of success is falling back on students who are subject to increased fees to support athletic scholarships. According to the Huffington Post, “over the past five years, students have paid nearly $90 million in mandatory athletic fees to support football and other intercollegiate athletics — one of the highest contributions in the country” (Wolverton, et al., 2015). The average attendance for State football games was ranked in the top ten worst in the NCAA’s top level (Wolverton, et al., 2015).
In 2014 alone students paid roughly $17.6 million in athletic fees to support athletes a burden that falls on a population with over half of students requiring federal assistance (Wolverton, et al., 2015). The athletic program’s expensive expenditures are crippling the student body, an issue that has not gained enough attention. The athletic program relies heavily on students for financing and subsidies represent about three-fourths of its budget (Wolverton, et al., 2015). But this reliance isn’t limited to Georgia State’s athletic program; it is prominent around college programs around the nation. According to the Huffington Post, public university have used over $10.3 billion dollars from mandatory student fees to support their sports programs in the last five years.
Georgia State Men’s Coaching Scandal
A prominent issue that pushed Georgia State Athletics into a negative light was the Men’s tennis coaching scandal. Head Coach Joerg Barthel and Assistant Coach Cesar Vargas were fired after investigations found them guilty of alcohol use with athletes, gambling, and taking personal trips using money from the university and athletes’ families (McQuade, 2014). Along with these were charges initial allegations that the coaches made players sleep on hotel floors, made improper recruiting phone calls without proper documentation, and neglected to give players their mandatory day off all which occurred in April of 2013 (McQuade, 2014). Vargas often allowed players to spend the night as his home, but the most serious offense was their engagement in gambling on professional and collegiate sports which is a direct NCAA violation.
Georgia State’s Lack of Proper Facilities
The third most pressing issue facing Georgia State Athletics is the lack of proper facilities as a Division I school—the result of low funds. The university’s track team does not have its’ own track facility and must use public and high school tracks for practice. This is also true for the men’s and women’s golf teams who travel to locations outside of downtown Atlanta to practice. The football team plays its’ home games in the Georgia Dome—which is home to the professional football team the Atlanta Falcons. “Panthersville” is an outdoor facility roughly thirty to forty minutes away from campus in which soccer, baseball and softball all practice and play games. This commute is not only inconvenient for athletes, it also decreases student sport engagement while increasing the cost to transport fans to the location.
This is an issue elite universities are not subject due to the revenue that such sports programs bring in annually (Wolverton, et al., 2015). These elite schools enjoy endowments from alumni and high ticket sales; two factors Georgia State does not have access to just yet being that it is relatively young and student sports engagement is relatively low. According to the Huffington Post, “students who have the least interest in their college’s sports teams are often required to pay the most to support them” (Wolverton, et al., 2015) which further disconnects State from elite Division I universities.
Wolverton, B., Hallman, B., Shifflett, S., & Kambhampati S. (2015). Sports At Any Cost: How
Retrieved from http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/ncaa/sports-at-any-cost
Georgia State University: Quick Facts. Gsu.edu. Retrieved from
McQuade, A. (2014). Athletic Records Reveal Troubling Details Leading to Coaches’ Dismissal.
Georgia State Signal Online. Retrieved from http://georgiastatesignal.com/athletic-