Ross Romano: Club sports impeded by funding

In most cases in life, the harder one works and the more successful one becomes, the more handsomely he or she is rewarded. Therefore one would probably expect that GW’s many club sports teams – among the most active student organizations both in membership and fundraising – would be appreciated by the University for their contributions and rewarded in a similar manner as other popular student organizations such as the College Republicans and Democrats. This is not the case, however, as those groups receive thousands of dollars each, and the club teams are left perpetually in need.

For those of you unfamiliar, club sports teams are not varsity teams, but they play games against other schools and represent GW in the process. The players on club teams are high-quality athletes who go through a tryout process, and the duties involved with being a club team member are time-consuming and difficult, especially for the team presidents.

Take, for example, scheduling. The difficulty of scheduling games is one thing, but GW makes scheduling practices even harder. No fields are provided for many club teams, forcing them to go out and find private fields and pay for practice time. Chris Murphy, president of club Baseball said paying for practice fields is too costly on the minimal budget the team works with. Instead they hold many practices on the National Mall, which is obviously free but even more obviously not a baseball field.

One would think that club tennis, a sport that needs less space than baseball, would have an easier time finding room to practice, but that is not the case. At the end of last year, the Mount Vernon tennis facility was leased to a third party. Now, only one court at a time can be used for free by students, including the club tennis team, while preference is given to the private membership of the “Mount Vernon Tennis Club,” a group of outside adults. As a result, Charles Perretti, club tennis president, is concerned many of his players not getting adequate practice time will quit the team or decide not to return next year. GW has declined to do anything to help their students, instead preferring to use the courts to make more money.

As with any student organization, club sports teams must go through the Student Association to acquire funding. Unfortunately, this is money the SA really doesn’t have. Club basketball co-president Jeff Alston, co-president of club basketball said he had been trying for two years to get GW to allow him to put a team together, only to be given the runaround by the school. It came up with excuse after excuse why he wouldn’t be able to do it, and when he finally proved it to be a legitimate organization, here’s how much money they gave him to run the squad: $0. That’s right, zero dollars!

Club hockey is so underfunded that Jon Hixon, the team president, said, that they have to charge members dues amounting to $675 per person this year. The team’s proposed budget came to $28,317 this season, but the SA gave them just $850, the most it gave to any club team. SA finance committee chairman Matt Cohen said that the SA would like to be able to give more, but it’s impossible to fund all the student organizations adequately on the budget they have.

“If you’re asking me do I think the University should step up with the funding for the teams, yes 100 percent,” Cohen said.

Cohen is right. The University should set up a separate fund for club sports teams. It truly is a shame that such solid organizations get so little respect from the university. It’s time for GW to step up to the plate and show some appreciation for the great work these students do.

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