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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Union and Admin. reach agreement on sports funding

Published: December 1, 2006
Section: News

The Student Union and the Office of Students and Enrollment have come to an agreement regarding club sports funding, according to Union Officials.

A memorandum of understanding between the Union and Students and Enrollment states that the agreement seeks to create a Club Sports Program under the auspices of the Department of Athletics that is funded by the Department of Athletics and by a portion of the Student Activities Fee. The agreement was signed by Union President Alison Schwartzbaum 08, Union Treasurer Choon Woo Ha 08, Dean of Student Life Rick Sawyer, and Keenyn McFarlane of the Division of Students and Enrollment.

The proposal reads that the Department of Athletics will oversee the structure of the program and work with the clubs to plan and budget on a long-term basis, but the Finance Board will maintain its role as a funding source. The agreement also stipulates that the Department of Athletics will submit regular financial reports to the Finance Board to demonstrate that the individual club sports teams are spending within their approved budgets.

Union Director of Executive Affairs Adam Gartner said that the Union had found the first club sports proposal from the administration, submitted last May, acceptable, but that the one thing it didnt include was a funding structure. The original proposal never used the words Student Activities Fee. The last issue to be hammered out was the funding aspect.

Gartner went on to say that the F-board will decide the amount given to club sports, and that the number is traditionally around $100,000. We didnt want to rush and leave something that could cause problems. We didnt want to give $100,000 blind, and we wanted a collaborative process that included the Finance Board.

While the F-board will allocate SAF money to the club sports teams, the proposal does not mean that SAF monies can be used for programming, but instead can only be put towards team activities. The F-board can fund activities, said Gartner, at the same time that athletics can fund programming. According to the proposal, the F-board will pay coaching fees, referee fees, league registration fees, tournament fees, and other aspects if [the F-board] views the extra requests to be within the purpose of the club and in the interest of the Brandeis Community.

However, it is this language involving extra requests that has some Union Officials concerned. Former Union Treasurer Nick Freeman 07 stated that it makes sense that athletics should have more control over [club sports]. What bothers me is that there are a lot of things that seem very vague to me. All I see is $100,000 being sent from the F-board. He went on to say that if [the] Athletics [department] is the only one keeping tabs on the books, I would like to know what the verification process is. It just makes sense to have accountability.

Freeman expressed concern that some issues left over from last semester still remain unresolved, such as what costs would fall under the F-boards jurisdiction and which would be covered by Athletics. He also stated that there is no resolution on which sports teams will be designated as clubs. So which clubs is Athletics going to sponsor? asked Freeman. Thats a real concern.

Im worried that progress will lag off, said Freeman. All thats been produced so far is a one-page document. A lot more work needs to be done.

The agreement still has to receive final approval and, if approved by the Student Union, will take effect for the 2007-2008 academic year. It took a while because we wanted to make sure we had the best possible option, said Gartner, the best possible outcome for club sports.