Donation Dollars & Football Season Tickets

Below is a sure sign that football is big business at my college alma mater. More importantly that if throw around enough money, you’ll get preferential treatment. Part of me wants to be against the policy, but in that the money will be used to for scholarship and facility improvement, I’m sure I’ll eventually get behind the change.

March 1, 2004
U-M Athletics Announces Preferred Seating Program
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan Athletic Department will implement a Preferred Seating Program in Michigan Stadium, with seat location linked to donation levels, beginning in 2005. The plan is expected to raise $9.5 million annually for scholarships and capital projects once it is completely in place.
Requiring an annual seat donation for select season ticket locations is common among our peer institutions,” said U-M director of athletics William C. Martin. “Michigan is the only school of the top 20 attendance leaders in college football that has not implemented a preferred seating program.”
The Athletic Department, a self-supporting unit of the University, provides financial assistance to more than 700 U-M student-athletes who represent Michigan in intercollegiate competition. In addition to scholarship costs, the department must upgrade many of its aging facilities, which have not kept pace with the needs of student-athletes, Martin said.
“The department’s reliance on private support increases each year as the cost of education and the resources necessary to maintain a quality athletics program escalate,” said Martin. The U-M Athletic Department’s private giving in 2002-03 was $3.7 million, far behind Big Ten peers Ohio State ($18.7 million), Penn State ($14.5 million) and Michigan State ($10 million).
The Preferred Seating Program will phase in donation requirements over a two-year period. The minimum annual donation will range from $125-$500 per ticket, depending on where the seats are located. According to current tax rules, donations will be 80 percent tax-deductible and will qualify for the tax credit for donations to public universities in the state of Michigan. Donations made to the department as part of the Preferred Seating Program also will give participants membership in the Victors Club.

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