Love in this club
Club sports teams at the University deserve more funding
Last fall, the club golf president submitted a budget proposal to Student Council.
I do concede that such proposals often ask for more than what can be expected. But this year, Council might as well have flat-out rejected the proposal, as the proposed $11,000 was shredded to $2,000.
This figure may still seem like a fair amount of money, but with multiple tournaments, practices and the price of gas, the yearly bill is much closer to the former number than the latter. Furthermore, the club golf team, of which I am a member, deserves, along with multiple other club sports teams, adequate funding from the University.
Varsity teams are supplied apparel, equipment, transportation — you name it. I understand very well that varsity sports teams represent the University on a national scale and are significant revenue-generators. I admire varsity athletes for their dedication and work ethic and am the first one to cheer on our varsity teams. I am also aware of the budget issues the University faces and how this consideration impacts spending on varsity sports.
This does not mean, however, that the University lacks the ability to allocate more funds to competitive club sports teams. Burl Rolett of Richmond BizSense notes in an August 2012 article that in 2010-11 the University of Virginia’s athletic department received approximately $34.5 million from the Virginia Athletic Foundation. And here I am quibbling over $9,000.
The point is, the University needs to provide more funding for club sports teams. I chose to come to the University and join the club golf team over being a member of a varsity team at a less prestigious and academically sound school. Why? Because the club team is not only competitive, but it also allows me to enjoy the sport I love while at the same time being able to learn and grow in an academically rigorous environment.
And I am not the only one who made this decision. There are players on the club golf team, and I am sure many other athletes, who had the ability to play a Division I sport but ended up choosing the University due to their love of the school and their desire for an extraordinary education.
But being academically driven, however noble, should not mean one has to sacrifice his or her love of competition and sports.
Teams that are that competitive and that dedicated to their sport need support, and it is up to the University to provide it. If you have ever seen commercials for the NCAA, you know the overwhelming majority of student athletes do not turn professional in their chosen sports. Many students are looking for a balance between athletics and academics varsity sports do not provide, and the security of a good education far exceeds that of being a professional athlete.
Such a balance is exactly what schools like the University of Virginia provide, but it will not come without a cost. This is why students who want this security, who want to learn but are not willing to give up a sport they love, often choose club sports. Thus, the University needs to provide more funding to club sports teams in order to encourage students to seek out the best education possible, to find the balance myself and my teammates have. It’s time club gets some much-needed love.
Andrew Wells is a viewpoint writer.