The Board of Regents meets this week in Rapid City to discuss, among other things, approving a $65-million football stadium for South Dakota State University.
According to the Regents' agenda packet, two thirds of the construction costs are for enclosed seating, the fancy executive suites that will bring in the bulk of new ticket revenue and allow local royalty to enjoy the gridiron spectacle with comforting glass walls to separate them from the hoi polloi and brisk October breeze.
$63 million of the project will come from bond sales, private donations already pledged, and a guarantee from the SDSU Foundation. SDSU wants the Regents to let them take another $2 million out of students' hides via a $1.75 fee on each academic credit. SDSU justifies this charge by moving the University Police Department HQ to the stadium and adding retail space.
A student taking 15 credits (and why aren't you taking at least that many credits? Get 'er done!) would pay $26.25 per semester, or $210 for a standard four-year full-time load.
So the more classes you take, the less time you have to go watch other people play sports, but the more you will pay for an athletic spectation palace.
Conservatives are huffing and puffing about having to buy health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act that cover procedures they'll never use (a complaint I never heard them lodging against pre-ACA insurance; when's the last time an insurer let you buy a policy that covers just the one broken arm that you plan to suffer from falling in the bathroom next summer?). Will they huff and puff similarly on behalf of SDSU students having to pay for a football stadium they'll never use?