Former UNC-system President C.D. Spangler, Jr. wants system leaders to say no to a proposed student fee increase to help UNC Charlotte start a football team.
In a letter sent to the system's Board of Governors, Spangler, a Charlotte businessman, recalled the state statute that says the university system should be "free of expense, as far as practical"
"This provision seems to be straight forward: The great benefits of the University should be extended as low cost to the students as is reasonable," Spangler wrote in his letter. "There is no way our founding fathers could have written this thinking the Football Fees being proposed by the "Football Committee" made sense."
Click here to read the letter.
UNC Charlotte trustees last month backed a fee plan that, if approved by the BOG, would gradually increase student fees by up to $320 in fall 2014 to launch a football team. That includes a $120 debt service fee to pay for building a football stadium.
BOG members discussed the proposed fees on Thursday in Chapel Hill, and will vote on tuition and fee packages for all system schools next month.
Spangler wrote he thinks the proposed football fees would be a roadblock to families who want to attend the university. He said football committee members "are more familiar with (country) club dues than they are with the financial condition of the students at our more than 300 public high schools."
Spangler's letter questions whether there was broad support among students for football, and states that less than 10 percent of the student body "voted for an imprecisely worded football activity."
It is unclear what study Spangler is referencing. However, in 2007, about 39 percent of university students took part in a special poll by the Student Government Association. Of those, 78 percent indicated they would support a fee increase to help pay for football.
Spangler has voiced his concerns about the football program before. In February 2008, he and another former UNC system President, William Friday, spoke on the topic with faculty at UNC Charlotte. Friday also was a founding co-chairman of the Knight Commission for Intercollegiate Athletics.
UNC Charlotte has posted video of the Spangler and Friday remarks, as well as remarks and reports from Chancellor Phil Dubois and a football feasibility committee who recommended football on its web site. View those materials by clicking here.
- April Bethea