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Club sports offer benefits, ‘different experience’ to students

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 01:01


While the Athletics department continues to flourish amidst new constructions in recent years and successes in men’s and women’s basketball and soccer, another program on campus is often on the back burner of most student’s minds: sports club teams. 

USF has 42 sports clubs, ranging from wrestling to lacrosse, and all headed by the Sports Club Council, a student-run organizationthat
determines club regulations and manages the distribution of the $260,000 in student-paid Activities and Services (A&S) fees allocated by Student Government to sports clubs. 

The Athletics program — which has a budget of more than $37.7 million of which more than $15.7 million comes from student fees and brings in more than $43.5 million in revenue, according to USF’s operating budget and the Office of Postsecondary Education —holds mental and physical benefits for the
student athletes. Club teams’ benefits are similar, but the experience is far different.

“Sports clubs are one of those things that help to get students engaged and involved on campus, and have a sense of connection to the university,” Ashley Johnson, the sports clubs coordinator said.

Thais Toledo, the women’s lacrosse club president and a junior majoring in communication sciences and disorders, said she is certainly feeling the difference. Lacrosse, like other clubs, must share time on the field, allotted by the Sports Club Council. 

“For lacrosse, we do a lot of running and we need to stay in shape,” Toledo said. “It’s really hard to build a strong team if you only have the facility two times a week. We get three practices a week during the competitive season ... It’s hard being on a sports club and not having access to everything you need.”

If the women’s lacrosse team needs to use the field after their three practices a week are up, they’re out of luck, she said. With so many club sports it would be impossible to have a “free-for-all” on the fields without causing chaos. 

Jasmine Grant, a club wrestler and pre-med student, said she feels the clubs offer advantages over participating in school-sponsored athletics despite sometimes having
limited access to facilities. 

“I think it’s a good thing for us because we have control over what gets out there and how to get our name out there ourselves,” Grant said.

To form a club, a group of student simply must get together and participate in the sport, such as practices, meetings, and competitions all while acting within the Sports Club Council regulations. 

   “There’s a lot of value for those students that are involved in sports clubs, they have to determine how to best run their club, how to bring in the funds, how to bring in new members, decide where and when they travel, and get officials,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot that those students learn from those experiences.”

Toledo said she learned a lot about conflict management and organization  through her involvement with sports clubs. 

Johnson said she hopes to see sports clubs’ prominence on campus expand. 

“In general, trying to provide as much support as possible, financially and in a risk management perspective,” Johnson said. “If we can improve on those things that is where I want to see sports clubs.” 

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