Ending the subsidy for booster clubs

By: - February 14, 2007 4:52 pm

The bills are flying fast and furious at the General Assembly. One filed Wednesday by Rep. George Cleveland and Rep. Pricey Harrison would repeal the law passed a few years ago that allows out-of-state athletes at UNC to qualify for in-state tuition, which results in a windfall for the athletic booster clubs at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State.

The legislation was slipped into the budget in 2005 and debated only after the fact. It's defenders, including Senator Tony Rand, say it also increases the number of students who can receive academic scholarships like the Morehead at UNC-CH and that's technically true, but the vast majority of the money goes back to the booster clubs.  When it is fully implemented, the tuition break for the boosters will cost taxpayers $32 million. 

This at a time when North Carolina students face year after year of tuition increases. Good for Cleveland and Harrison and let's hope this bill gets a full hearing. Cleveland introduced it last year and it was brought up in a committee but quickly buried in a subcommittee where it died, thanks to the efforts of the well-heeled UNC PAC, Citizens for Higher Education.

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066