Students oppose DI

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

In a survey conducted by the Collegian, 48 percent of SDSU students expressed their belief that SDSU should not move to Division I athletics.

According to athletic director Fred Oien, however, these statistics are colored by a student body that needs more information about the move to Division I.

“Some people believe that we’re poor, we’re ignorant, we can’t do it and the reality is just the opposite,” Oien said.

The survey, which was administered to 390 SDSU students in the union and Larson Commons, reveals that only 38 percent of SDSU students believe that the DI move is a good idea, while 14 percent are still unsure about whether the move is a good idea or not.

In the original survey, conducted by CSL of Minneapolis, an overwhelming majority of students said they were not opposed to the idea of Division I athletics. However, none of these students were asked whether they believed SDSU should move to DI or not.According to Oien, the corporation who ran the survey was just using the methods it has used in many previous surveys with other teams and institutions.

“They are experts in analyzing economic viability. They have good researchers that know how to do this and if you ask anybody in a survey yes or no without total information available, people respond based on who knows what,” Oien said. “Their company’s reputation is based on whether or not they provide good data.”

Oien said that students could not be asked whether or not they believed a move to DI was a good idea because the students who were asked the questions had not been given the most information possible about the idea of moving to DI.

While 56 percent of SDSU students do not believe that SDSU is ready to move to DI and 24 percent believe the school is ready, the results are skewed between those who answered “yes” and those who answered “no” as to whether SDSU should move to DI, according to the Collegian survey.

Among those who said yes, 55 percent of respondents said SDSU was ready to move to DI, while only 24 percent believed SDSU was not ready. Among those who said no, a stunning 84 percent thought that SDSU was not ready to move to DI, while only four percent thought the pieces were in place for the move.

Those who were not sure about the move were also not sure if SDSU was ready for the move, with 51 percent of that group responding that they were not sure if SDSU was ready to move. 43 percent of that group did not think SDSU was ready for DI, while only six percent thought SDSU was ready.

All three groups believed their interest in SDSU athletics would be roughly the same after the DI move, with 51 percent of students responding that way.

In a statistic based on the original survey, which has been cited to the press, most students were willing to pay up to $100 in student fees to support a DI move. While the Board of Regents has expressly forbidden an increase in student fees, students polled said they would not be willing to pay that much more. In fact, 71 percent of those polled would not want to pay more than $50.

Students were given the option to mark why they thought a move to DI might fail. Over and over, a lack of funding was cited, even though Oien and President Peggy Gordon Miller have said that the money will be in place shortly.

What was clear was that many students lacked some basic knowledge about the DI move. Many thought it would cause tuition to skyrocket, even though tuition goes up on its own, regardless of a DI move.

While Oien has much to do in the months to come, he understands the need to reach out to the students, hear their concerns and help them understand what the move means for SDSU.

“We will achieve far more than we think we can. That’s a hard concept to sell, but it’s a reality,” Oien said.