Club sports deserve more recognition, respect

By By Paige Fieldstead

By Paige Fieldstead

Since being named sports editor last spring, I have learned a lot about the club sports teams on campus.

For example, I always knew that participants in club sports didn’t receive scholarships like the varsity athletes do, but I always thought they received some sort of help from the administration. Turns out, I was wrong.

Club sports teams, like any other clubs on campus, do receive some funding from ASUU. However, compared to the cost of uniforms, travel and tournament fees, it’s just a drop in the bucket.

The athletes on the club teams have to balance practices and games, classes and homework, and many also have jobs to support themselves and the sport they play. It’s tough being an athlete at any level, but especially a financially unsupported college athlete.
The costs of traveling, uniforms and everything else falls upon the shoulders of the team members. What they don’t earn through fundraisers is paid out of pocket.

These teams aren’t just out there having fun and trying to prolong their careers as competitive athletes as long as possible. They are out there representing the U8212;and representing it well.

We have top-ranked rugby, men’s soccer and men’s water polo teams. Our ice hockey, women and men’s lacrosse and men’s volleyball teams are competitive.

It’s not like we are talking about club teams that are losing every game or really aren’t competing. With limited time and limited funds, they are succeeding.

In the past several weeks, I have read stories about the rugby team annihilating its opponents, the men’s soccer team continuing its winning streak and the ice hockey team preparing for another successful season.

If our club teams are having so much success without the help of university funding, recruiting or recognition, just imagine what they could do with a little extra help.
These teams deserve the support of the university, the students and community. They’ve proven they can be successful without it, and now it’s time to give them the respect they deserve.

I realize shrinking budgets and the economy make it impossible to give every club sport the kind of financial support the varsity teams on campus receive. There isn’t money to give full scholarships to 100-plus student-athletes who compete at the club level, but they deserve more than the measly funds they are receiving from ASUU.

Sure, these club sports might not be bringing the U the kind of attention and money to campus that the football, basketball and gymnastics teams are, but with a little help and support from the community, they could make an impact on the U’s image overall as an athletic school.

Most students probably had no idea that we have a rugby team, let alone one that is in contention for the national title almost every year8212;and other club sports are competing at similar levels.

How hard would it be to have a section of dedicated to club sports, where fans could see game highlights, scores, schedules and stats? Simple coverage and small amounts of funding would make a world of difference to these teams.

Club sports have proven time and time again that they need more funding, more coverage and more support in general.

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