Clubs seek more funds
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 13:01
In the past several years, Utah State has seen many athletic clubs have success both regionally and nationally.
Ranging from baseball to hockey to tennis, these teams have brought both awards and recognition to the university. As with any program, however, these clubs need financial support, and university funding limits are being reached.
“Last year our season roughly cost about $17,000,” said baseball club president Garrett Schiffman. “We received private donations from donors. Each player was required to pay club dues and then we received some money from the school.”
Campus Recreation covers 14 officially recognized athletic clubs. Assistant director Scott Wamsley is in charge of fund distribution.
“Basically we’ve got $51,000 that we can allocate to all these different clubs,” said Wamsley. “They receive funding based on their need and what they bring in in dues.”
The money comes from a portion of general student fees, with the rest of needed funds coming from player pockets and sponsors.
“Baseball this year received $4,000 from us,” Wamsley said. “There are a couple of other teams that receive more.”
Schiffman said this year’s baseball player fees were $125 for fall semester and $400 for spring. Fees cover team travel, hotels and one meal a trip.
“We raised them a little bit up from last year just because of the success we had,” he said.
The baseball team has been very pleased with the support Campus Recreation has given them, Schiffman said.
“We’ve seen the increase of funds come from different areas, especially within the Campus Rec. That’s been really nice,” he said. “They’ve been real grateful to help us and we’ve been real grateful for their help and support because there’s no way we’d be able to do it without them.”
The tennis club on the other hand has not been allowed to receive athletic funding due to a previous agreement between Campus Recreation and the athletic department, which already has men’s and women’s tennis teams.
“We have an ongoing agreement with the athletic department that we will not sponsor or have any club teams the same as they have over in their department, and they will not have any in their department that we have in ours,” Wamsley said.
Due to the agreement, the tennis club is instead affiliated with the Council of Student Clubs and Organizations, the same as all non-athletic clubs at the university. Mike Sheffield, president of the tennis club, said funding has been difficult and has limited the advancement of the club.
“Biggest issue is we can’t be affiliated with Campus Rec because there’s a varsity team,” Sheffield said. “It’s the department’s priority to fund the clubs within. Since our department, Campus Rec, is unwilling to take us on, we have to go to CSCO.”
Clubs may apply for funding from CSCO multiple times throughout the school year, but Sheffield said he has received very little support.
“In the last three years, the university has given us a total of $200,” he said. “Last year our club spent over $6,000 and will again this year. So $200 compared to $6,000 is not much.”
Members of the club pay dues of $35 each semester. Sheffield said while he recognizes it is substantially less than other sports, it does not cover the same expenses other club fees typically do, such as travel.
“They would have a point that our members don’t pay as much as some of the other club team members do,” Sheffield said. “But at the same time, as long as you’re paying more and receiving more from the university, it costs more.”
Wamsley said the agreement with the athletic department has been mainly based on the confusion between varsity and club teams, difficulty in finding sponsors and the amount of available space.
“It comes down to money, space and that agreement that we have with athletics,” said Wamsley. “Until we have more facilities, more funding, 14 teams is about where we’re going to stay at this point.”
Sheffield said he would love to seek sponsors, but the agreement once again prevents him from doing so.
“They tell me I can’t go and get sponsors,” he said. “Anybody sponsoring us is someone not sponsoring the varsity team. You’ll barely give us any money, we can’t go elsewhere to get money. It’s kind of frustrating.”
While the club usually breaks even, last year after regionals is when Sheffield was really upset. The team placed second and qualified for nationals but was unable to attend due to financial reasons.
“Last year we were good enough and qualified to go to the national tournament, but couldn’t, just because we didn’t have enough money,” Sheffield said. “Fellow students couldn’t pay enough, so we had to opt out. This year we hope it’s not the case, but it’s up in the air.”
Sheffield put in a request for funds Jan. 23, and Saturday the tennis club was granted $400 from the university.