Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Club sports is transitioning to campus recreation

Despite financial struggles, the SGA and Campus Recreation are creating a support system for club sports
Kalina Korancki/Daily Collegian (2023)

This is a developing story. More updates will be provided as new information is received.

Advisors of the Student Government Association and Campus Recreation are currently working on a proposal for club sports that will shift their means of communications and advising. This proposal, titled “Club Sports Transition 2023,” announces that coordination for club sports will go through Campus Recreation, instead of Student Engagement and Leadership (SEL).

The relationship between the SGA and club sports will also change slightly, but many projects will remain under similar management. This complete change will take effect during the fall semester of the 2024-2025 school year.

This transition process has been imminent since 2020, when SEL conducted a risk assessment which labeled 39 club sports teams as high-risk activities.

A club is defined as high risk depending on high-impact activities, the need for athletic trainers, the need to travel for competitions and liabilities of injury or destruction of campus equipment and facilities. Liabilities prove to be the main driving factor of this transition.

The main author behind the sports transition document, current SGA Secretary of Finance and Vice President-elect, Joshua Gauthier, says that these high-risk clubs are still encouraged. In the next year, they may be obligated – in order to shed to their high-risk status – to adhere to the transition efforts.

Gauthier also said that the University is concerned about student life. In the last year, there has been an exponential increase in club’s requested funding. “[The SGA] cannot in good faith continue to sustain one council that is taking up…90 percent of [the funds]” compared to the other RSOs who are also in need of financial support, Gauthier said.

This continuous increase may come from a lack of organized communication between clubs and no central process for clubs to check their inventory and stock.

Through the transition, Gauthier and the rest of the SGA are hoping to see a change, not only in the communication between sports and advisors, but also a decrease in the amount of funding needed for the club’s equipment and facility spaces.

Garret Jacobsmeier, a junior finance major and Rugby club president, finds this proposed transition to be beneficial towards large club sports like rugby, which have over 60 players year-round. Jacobsmeier does hold reservations, however, as to how the proposition may change during future drafts and before being formally signed.

“Having a dedicated resource that understands every little part of what [club sports are] expected to do should be better,” Jacobsmeier said. “[Especially] when it comes with the hope that whoever’s working there [gives] students support which is good and helpful.”

Wrestling Club President Beckett Herman, a junior nursing major, was concerned that the current proposal would not benefit the club wrestling team. He noted that if the decision had to be made, “the wrestling team would most likely join the Campus Rec due to the fact we practice at the Rec Center and directly communicate with Nick Damato [Senior Assistant Director for Sport Programs] for most things wrestling related.”

Currently, the SGA and Campus Recreation are completing the draft for the proposal. SGA advisors will work through the summer to discuss and revise the document.

By the fall semester, Gauthier said that the SGA will need to submit a finalized list of RSO club sports that will take part in the transition to Campus Recreation. According to Gauthier, many of the 39 high-risk clubs are anticipated to adhere to the transition proposal before it becomes mandatory.

In February 2024, the Campus Recreation will appropriately distribute the $350,000 budget between all the clubs, according to Gauthier. This is similar to what the SGA has done in the past. After the transition, the club treasurers will not have to submit financial request forms to have funding.

During this period, new professional staff and hiring processes will begin as well. In May 2024, the SGA will pass their financial report for fiscal year 2025. This will include the new funding process for Campus Recreation. Starting September 2024, club sports will gradually come under complete control of Campus Recreation.

This transition raises hopes for the future of club sports and many of the athletes. Club sports are many students’ families, their means of entertainment and sources of joy.

While tension surrounding club sports sources of funding and advising may be high, Gauthier said that the campus rec is “here to help and I think [the SGA and clubs sports] can build a relationship of trust and responsibility.”

Kalina Kornacki can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @KalinaKornacki.

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