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Club sports offer benefits, different experience to students

While the Athletics department continues to flourish amidst newconstructions in recent years and successes in mens and womens basketball andsoccer, another program on campus is often on the back burner of most students minds: sports club teams.

USF has 42 sports clubs,ranging from wrestling tolacrosse, and allheaded by the Sports ClubCouncil, a student-run organizationthat
determines clubregulations and manages thedistribution 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 USFs operating budget and the Office of Postsecondary Education holds mental andphysical 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 ofconnection to the university,Ashley Johnson, the sports clubscoordinator said.

Thais Toledo, the womens lacrosse club president and ajunior 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. Its really hard to build a strong team if you only have thefacility two times a week. We get three practices a week during the competitiveseason … Its hard being on a sports club and not havingaccess to everything you need.

If the womens lacrosse team needs to use the fieldafter their three practices a week are up, theyre out of luck, she said. With so many club sports it would be impossible to have a free-for-all on the fieldswithout causing chaos.

Jasmine Grant, a clubwrestler and pre-med student, said she feels the clubs offeradvantages over participating inschool-sponsored athleticsdespite sometimes having
limited access to facilities.

I think its a good thing for us because we have control over what gets out there and how to get our name out thereourselves, Grant said.

To form a club, a group of studentsimply must get togetherand participate in the sport, such as practices, meetings, and competitions all while acting within the Sports Club Councilregulations.

Theres a lot of value for thosestudents that are involved insports clubs, they have todetermine 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. Theres 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.