After eight years, the Missouri Western Athletics Department is taking student input for updates to the Max Experience booster program.
With a fee of $60 per semester for full-time students, the Max Experience gives students access to all home sporting events, concessions as well as other benefits throughout the year.
Freshman Lanny Leivan feels that though the fees are helpful for athletic supporters, the program might not be beneficial to all students.
“I don’t like that the fee is not optional, because I’ve been to a few games, but I don’t think I’ve been to enough of them to make the program worth it personally. I like that it is helping the athletics department, but I would prefer to have the fee as an optional package for students and their families that regularly attend the sporting events instead of an all-student fee,” Leivan said.
Several colleges within Western’s athletic division have alternative booster programs to avoid student fees. For example, Northwest Missouri State University sponsors a majority of their athletic funding through the Bearcat Boosters, a program that accepts a variety of donations from parents and alumni.
William Jewell College also sponsors their athletic programs through the outside funding of their J-Club booster program, and the University of Central Missouri gives students the opportunity to become a member of the Roaring Red Athletic Student Booster Club with an optional student fee of $10 per semester.
Although the Western Athletics Department currently has a booster program, the Gold Coat Victory Fund, to assist athletic scholarships and other expenses of athletic teams, the Max Experience is currently an irremovable student fee due to the bonds invested in projects throughout campus. Approximately $3.6 million of its total revenue from the last eight years has been taken out to pay back debt on university facilities such as the SGA Baseball complex.
Director of Athletics Kurt McGuffin is open to suggestions from students about where they feel the remaining funds of their Max Experience fees should be going.
“It is a fee that is irrevocable because we have a 20- to 30-year bond on many of the facilities [that the Max Experience funds]. The things we take out of the fund for Max can be negotiated, but the fee can’t be refunded. I think the things we are giving out as a department through the Max Experience can definitely be reevaluated. I think we still need to fund things like the band and cheerleaders, because that is a student organization, but other than that we are open to looking at how much we spend on certain items if the students feel there is something else that they would like to change,” McGuffin said.
In addition to student benefits, the program also covers participation scholarships for the Mystics, cheerleaders and the MWSU Pep Band.
First-year Mystic Sabrina Parra enjoys the current student perks of the Max Experience, but would like to see some of the funds be adjusted to current students’ needs.
“I like the program because I dance at every home game and it gives my friends and family a chance to come into the games for free to see me dance,” Parra said. “If they are going to make changes to where the money is going I would like to see some of the money go into babysitting, because I am a mom and I would want to know that there is a good facility for my daughter to go to and be safe.”