The now-infamous Spectrum post this week asked what I think is THE question when it comes to UB Athletics and Recreation: "Does 'Big-Time' athletics conflict with recreation?"
The Spectrum article seemed to think so, as does the Student Association, which has apparently proposed a 39% decrease in student support of Athletics and a 528% increase in funding for recreation.
I personally don't think there should be a conflict. I think BOTH fees are too low. Instead of fighting over which program should be underfunded, we should push to appropriately fund both.
From an economic value perspective: Nine months at LA Fitness near campus will run you $386.91 ($99 initiaiton fee + $31.99/month). Season tickets for Football and Men's Basketball, including the donation, run you $225 and $235 respectively. The total cost for all three would be $846.91.
To match these numbers, you should increase the UB Athletics fee from $198/semester to $230/semester. Recreation would skyrocket from about $15/semester, to $193 per semester. Students would pay an additional $210/semester, but they wouldn't be paying more or less than market value for the services provided.
This turns a conflict into a resolution that is beneficial for all parties.
Whether part of Athletics or as a standalone department (beware, standalone usually necessitates administration, which necessitates $money spent on administrators, which keeps me (a lifelong educational administrator) paid, so go for it if that's your thing), recreation could take over Alumni Arena, buy Athletics out of the building for 15-20 million and build a luxurious facility for 40-50 million. The 70 million dollar cost would be covered in 7 years with the additional recreation fee money.
In the meantime, Athletics could take their buyout and rebuild a more suitable arena for "big-time" athletics. Perhaps an arena that can be used for Hockey and Basketball, like the 7,500 capacity, 81 million dollar Baxter arena built by the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2015.
Instead of looking for the conflict, and finding a solution that will only create more conflict, UB needs to bite the bullet, and create solutions that will solve the issues that have lingered for decades.