The Utah Valley State College rugby team advisor only wanted equal funding for both his men’s and women’s teams. And now the school, to save itself, has reduced all clubs to only $250 of funding. And I’m wondering if the UVSC women’s rugby team is being blamed by other clubs for their loss of funds.
Further, the photo with this article (used here) has a misleading caption – “UVSC women’s rugby team, in green and yellow, now receives as much money as the men’s team.” Umm … yeah. $250!
UVSC club funding fair?
Equal amount for all has generated a lot of complaints, discussion
By Jordan Burke – Deseret Morning News
OREM — In an effort to be fair, Utah Valley State College student leaders and administrators decided earlier this year to give all extracurricular clubs the same amount of funding.
So has the outcome been fair? The answer depends on whom you ask, but the move has generated quite a bit of discussion at UVSC.
Until this school year, UVSC used two funding tiers for its club sport teams — they had extramural clubs, which received funding from the school to pay for uniforms and coaches, and the intramural clubs, which didn’t receive funds from the school and scraped by to pay for costs.
This year, however, in part because of a complaint of inequity, UVSC officials decided to do away with the tier system. No longer would the school support different club grades.
Perhaps to understand the issue better, take a step back a few years to 2003 when UVSC’s athletics program jumped from the National Junior College Athletic Association to NCAA Division 1.
Some of the 16 sports that made the leap included women’s softball, men’s and women’s volleyball and baseball. Because not all the sports clubs could — or would — compete at that level, the remaining clubs, such as men’s rugby, hockey and golf, were put under the purview of the student government.
At the same time, UVSC operated intramural clubs for other activities, such as women’s rugby, the chess club and the newly formed Xbox club.
However, extramural clubs received much more money than intramural clubs. By UVSC’s definition, extramural clubs were the clubs that came from the athletic department when the school moved into the NCAA.
Intramural clubs either existed under the student government before the transfer of the other clubs or formed after the NCAA change.
Bob Rasmussen, UVSC dean of students and assistant vice president of student life, said it was a mistake to call the programs extramural because there wasn’t a difference between those clubs and the intramural clubs.
The monetary difference between the two tiers stems from the transfer from the athletic department. Once moved, the extramural sports programs petitioned the student government for funds to help pay for their coaching and equipment needs.
The student government approved funds for the 2004-05 school year and renewed them later for the 2005-06 school year.
Last year, Jon Moore, an assistant professor of geography, broached the funding topic with college administrators. Moore advises the school’s men’s and women’s rugby teams.
His women’s team, an intramural sport, received less funding than the men’s team. In a 30-page document that cited court cases and discrimination law, Moore addressed his concerns to school administrators.
He sent it to UVSC’s Title IX compliance officer Clay Chivers; Phil Clegg, senior director of student involvement; and Rasmussen.
As a result, Clegg said the college found some funds and gave the women’s team about $3,400 for their season.
Utah Assistant Attorney General David Jones said UVSC did not violate federal Title IX laws, which prohibit discrimination based on sex.
This year, though, both rugby teams and all other sports clubs were treated financially the same as the chess club and the Xbox club.
Clegg says the decision to change the funding amount was spurred by Moore’s complaint over funding for the women’s rugby team.
How widespread is concern from affected clubs?
“No one else (besides Moore) is coming to my office,” Rasmussen said.
Clegg, along with two other staff members and five students, studied the issue of a possible change over the summer. The group studied what other state schools do and made a proposal to UVSC’s student government. The student government adopted the new plan on Aug. 24, Clegg said.
So what would have happened if Moore hadn’t raised the issue?
The school had an unofficial way for programs to move from intramural status to extramural status after a two-year activity period.
“They very well likely would have made extramural status,” Clegg said, speaking about the women’s rugby team’s chances of reaching extramural status. Then they would have received more money from the school.
Under the new plan, clubs on campus all receive the same amount of money, up to $250 per semester, depending on how many clubs register. This year there are 65 active clubs.
That concerns Moore, whose men’s rugby team had a $16,000 budget last year. The woman’s rugby coach already left, Moore says, partly because he couldn’t be paid as much.
“We desire to have equality, and when it came it was as palatable as we had hoped it would be,” Clegg said.
However, Moore wanted help for his players.
“When the quality of coaching goes, then safety goes on the wayside,” Moore said.
Although no players have left, morale is down, he says.
“I really think the school is not doing their job to support the community. These players go out to complete for the institution and recruit for the institution. We have to spend more time fund-raising and less time training.”
Moore says he doesn’t expect the school to pay for team travel, but he said he would like them to foot the bill for league fees.
“It’s just that we don’t want to have to put the burden on all the players themselves,” he said.
But where that money would come from remains to be answered. Clubs get their funds from student fees, which each student must pay.
Other teams are disappointed because they now receive less funding.
“It’s really sad that because of an issue last year, the school felt threatened … and they pulled the plug on the funding for all the extramural teams,” said Elton Jazexhiu, the men’s soccer head coach.
“It kind of leaves us high and dry because we as a soccer team, we had been travelling. We still try to travel to regional and national tournaments, getting uniforms, paying for referee fees, the travel and the lodging,” he said. “Plus, if there’s anything for the coaching, too.”
To get more funds for clubs, the student government would have to approve raising student fees. Right now, clubs receive $72,000 from the college’s student fee pool.
“I’m not worried about clubs on campus lacking funds,” said Nick Parmely, President of UV Clubs. “They will find a way.”
After getting the roughly $250 allotment from student government, each club can perform other service and get more money from the school. They are also encouraged to fund-raise off campus and to find sponsors. The school will even match some funds the groups raise on their own.
“I don’t fault any club for wanting more funding,” Rasmussen said. “For a lot of folks on campus, they misunderstand how the student programs work.”
So far some clubs are find success quite well. Last year the hockey club raised roughly $100,000, Clegg said.
This makes me think of the two years I spent in college as my rugby team’s treasurer. At my college, club sports were required to develop a budget and than needed to request the money to fill that budget from our student government. Each year, I needed to face a panel of student government leaders who questioned why we needed any of our funding and then through bargaining, our team would get its funding, and we would eventually meet our needs through various fundraisers and out of pocket costs.
For all the college players (and alums) out there, what do you think of this? Any college funding horror stories? Or positive stories to share? Ideas for college teams to get more funding and reduce out of pocket player costs?