The Division of Recreational Sports and the UW Athletic Department are two separately managed units at UW-Madison. Though they share some facility space, they do not share budgets, revenue streams, or other funding sources. If students choose to vote against the Master Plan, this result will have no impact on UW Athletics’ contribution to any Rec Sports capital projects.
UW Athletics operates as a self-sufficient enterprise that already makes a major impact on campus through Bucky grants (through licensing income) and Big Ten network income, among other contributions.
The primary use of Rec Sports facilities is by students for recreational purposes, with a relatively small percentage of time and space being occupied by UW Athletics. The UW Swimming & Diving, Tennis, and Track & Field teams rent space at Rec Sports facilities, and the Athletics Department helps fund the maintenance costs for shared space at the SERF, Natatorium, Nielsen Tennis Stadium, and Camp Randall Sports Center.
UW Athletics stated publicly last month that it has just completed four facilities projects that cost approximately $125 million. The department is currently not in a position to assist with the funding of the proposed Rec Sports Master Plan beyond the $7 million it has already committed.
Students’ segregated fees are designed to be allocated by the Student Services Finance Committee to fund non-academic services, programs, and facilities that support the primary mission of the university. This includes the Division of Recreational Sports. If the referendum is passed, students would be responsible for a maximum of 57 percent of the cost of the Master Plan, with campus sources paying for the remaining 43 percent.
All potential partners involved in the funding of the Rec Sports Master Plan share an interest in addressing the documented needs for maintenance and repairs of recreational facilities at UW-Madison. The university lags far behind its peers in the Big Ten conference for space devoted to recreational sports, with just 15,000 square feet available for 42,000 students.
Those involved believe the current plan provides an equitable division of costs between students (the main users of the facilities), campus administration, private donors, and UW Athletics.