Club sports undergo changes in funding distribution

by Matthew Mackey | 11/17/06 6:00am

After a long evaluative process last year by the Student Assembly that included a report from the newly-created Club Sports Commission, this fall has seen marked differences in the way club sports is run. While the athletic department and Assembly have been encouraged by the changes, there are still issues that remain unresolved that both organizations will be working to improve.

College President James Wright again allocated $30,000 from his discretionary budget to club sports, doubling the original budget and providing much-needed financial support to a department that supports 29 different club sports.

However, unlike last year, when all of the extra funds were earmarked for expenses for teams advancing to postseason play, this year funding has been shifted slightly to allow for more support of teams while they are in-season.

Another change from last year is the funding structure for each club team, which has been altered in an effort to ensure fairer distribution of funds and to encourage teams to help themselves through fundraising and other means.

A year ago, every team was allocated some initial budget from club sports and then had to fundraise to make up the difference between budget and expense or otherwise pay out of pocket.

Now, all teams have a baseline amount of funding from club sports. Club sports will then provide additional funding to teams with less outside support, such as those that do not have a "friends account," through which a team can get money from alumni and parents who wish to donate to the team. Teams also have their dues and fundraising efforts matched on a percentage basis by club sports, rewarding teams that help themselves.

"We did some distribution equally," said Assistant Director of Athletics Joann Brislin. "Every sport got a baseline [amount] that was equal, and then, distributing funds equitably, we took into account whether or not a team had an additional source. Also, we want to encourage teams to do some of their own resource-earning through dues and fundraising, and they will be allocated additional funds on top of the self-generated funds.

"There's a little bit of helping everybody, a little bit of helping those who help themselves. Teams that have more opportunity for resources have a little less from us; teams that have less have more from us."

In addition to the baseline and matching funds provided, teams can apply to receive additional funds from a $20,000 pool for specific events, such as travel to and from a tournament. Teams submit proposals to an approval committee of student club athlete volunteers. The committee deliberates over each individual request and will submit a recommendation to Brislin, who will have final say on whether or not a team receives additional funding from the pool.

Brislin was quick to stress that the committee is still a work in progress. "We want to have more student input, have more club student leader input," said Brislin, "so it'll be an advisory board ... it's new, so it's exciting, but we're going to make this a work in progress, and adjust as we see fit."

Assembly's Club Sports Commission, while happy to see progress being made, is still unsatisfied with the current state of affairs in club sports, and will be working and lobbying in an effort to help further improve a group that can claim nearly one-fourth of Dartmouth students in its ranks.

"While there have been significant improvements this year, there are still many issues that face club sports," said Josh Jacobson '09, co-chair of the CSC. "Some of our goals for this year are to have the $30,000 dollars given the past two years from President Wright's discretionary fund permanently endowed, to increase the budget for club sports and to increase facility times in Leverone [Field House] for club sports."

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