Syracuse University has a really strong athletic program, and one that generates significant revenue for the college.

But the university recently found a way to potentially make more revenue from sports. Syracuse decided to leave the Big East Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference, because the Atlantic Coast Conference has a larger payout to sports teams with conference wins.

So far so good. But Syracuse’s contract with the Big East means it has to pay a $7.5 million exit fee. Syracuse has decided to spread that fee all around the university. Every school and other offices like housing and meal plans will face cuts to pay for the conference move.

Wait, what?

Many students reason that, since the conference move is a decision of, (largely) by and for the athletic department, sports should pay the whole damn fee. They’ve created a petition to try to make that happen. The university senate voted that the athletic department should pay the whole bill, too.

According to an article in the Syracuse Post-Standard, the petition argues that,

In light of the fact that the Athletic Department is expected to receive an annual increase from the ACC in excess of $10 million per year, we endorse the resolution of the University Senate and Senate Budget Committee recommending that the $7.5 million Big East exit fee be paid fully by the Athletic Department and not out of student tuition.

According to the paper, however,

The university administration and trustees argue that the present shared payment plan is best, and that Syracuse University will “recoup” its Big East exit payment through increased ACC payments to the athletics department in less than three years.

Well yes, but if you can make all of the money back in three years, why can’t you just take the hit this year? Why does archeology and student dining have to pay, too?

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer