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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Union leaders, administration officials pursue funding plan for club sports

Published: March 3, 2006
Section: News

The Student Union is currently in talks with the administration to try to secure funds for club sports organizations, according to Union Officials.

According to a recent Union proposal, which was drafted by Jacob Bockelman 09, Nick Freeman 07, Noah Haber 08, Jacob Kim 07, and Edgar Ndjatou 06, over 47% of the Student Unions funds currently go to club sports. The new proposal asks the Athletics Department to pay approximately $55,000, or 37%, of those costs, earmarking the funds for coaches, safety personnel from BEMCo and Public Safety, and safety equipment, such as life-jackets and shoulder pads.

Haber, in an interview with the Hoot, mentioned that at this current juncture, the Finance Board had to under-fund certain things in regards to club sports due to its limited amount of funding, such as reusing safety equipment or buying inferior supplies.

The proposal also asked that the Athletics Department make two 12-15 passenger vans or equivalent transportation available to club sports free of charge, citing that the large-capacity vehicles reduce the number of vehicles on the road that exhausted athletes would be driving home in after a competition. Also added on the proposal was a request for a $10 per person, per night lodging subsidy, stating that [while] teams have found several ways of adapting to price, including fitting large numbers of people into small rooms practices such as this are not only not hygienic, but are occasionally illegal.

Perhaps most controversial, however, was the request for equitable use of space for practicing. This would involve scheduling space for club sports at the same time as for varsity sports, said the proposal. Because many teams are already clamoring for the same practice locations, which are primarily in Chapels Field, the Athletic Fields west of Gosman, and the Gosman Athletic Center, this could cause heated controversy between varsity-level sports and club sports, whose practice schedules rarely, if ever, match.

Though the Union has not commented regarding negotiations with the administration, Haber seemed optimistic: We are very confident, he said. There are more resources availablewere in a better position than we thought wed be.

Controversy surrounding club sports has been at its peak since September, when the Crew team was financially disavowed by the Athletics Department due to its club status (Athletics calls crew team a club, September 23, 2005). However, the status of club sports funding has been in limbo for over a year, with no resolution in sight. Last year, Haber said, Student Union President Mark Schlangel 05 had drafted a proposal without consulting any sports leaders and as a result, the proposal was terribleit was ignored [and] nothing happened.

There has been interest in the funding of club sports on the part of the Board of Trustees, according to a project report submitted by Albert Cahn 07 after the Fall 2005 Trustees Meeting. Members of the [Budget and Finance] committee expressed interest in learning more about, and possibly providing greater financial support for club sports, it is imperative that we create a comprehensive financial proposal for the next board meeting, wrote Cahn.

The recent Union report was written in conjunction with many student athletics leaders to help give better perspective and insight into what club sports require. Following the finalization of the report and proposal, Athletics Director Sheryl Sousa said, Athletics and the Student Union are [now] working together to address the club sports issue.

Still, this proposal seems relatively weak to some. One Student Union source close to the process, who wished to remain anonymous, said, The club sports proposal written by the union was not everything that we thought should happen with club sports. It was everything that we thought we could get done. We knew we couldn't start the conversation with a giant list of demands;

we decided to make some concessions early.

Regardless of concessions, if this agenda fails to gain the Administrations seal of approval, the Union does have an alternate proposal, on which Haber would not comment further. In addition, the Athletics Department drafted a proposal in March of 2005, calling to streamline the number of total clubs, and to absorb the club sports into the department in order to ensure greater supervision, equipment, and efficiency.

Sousa is optimistic about what the club sports discussion could bring to the university. Given our expertise in athletics and recreation, said Sousa, I think we can make a significant contribution in this process.