Commentary: NU scant on club sports spending

Despite its recent rise in ranking of U.S. universities, Northeastern still suffers from a sorry lack of school spirit. Part of the problem is our sports programs. With most varsity teams in a dry spell as far as championships go, many students turn to club sports as a source of Northeastern pride (and as an alternative to watching our varsity teams struggle in their conferences). Unfortunately, they soon learn that most club sports, managed by the Campus Recreation Department, are severely neglected within the bureaucracy of the administration.

Floundering somewhere in the limbo between well-funded varsity sports that receive new uniforms every year and campus organizations like CUP and RSA that are allotted the money they need from the Student Activities Fee and the Resident Activities Fee, Northeastern Club Sports are all but overlooked in the budgeting process. They receive only $625 from Campus Recreation per team each semester. Granted, that might be enough to cover some of the club teams’ operating expenses, however many teams use off-campus facilities for a fee to practice and compete, and as a result, are struggling to stay afloat financially.

The Northeastern men’s and women’s club sailing teams, for example, are charged a total of $1,500 per semester to sail out of the MIT Boating Pavilion on the Charles River. We also pay our coaches $3,600 and incur more than $1,000 in travel expenses for regattas every season. And yet, between the two teams, we receive only $1,250 from Northeastern.

This leaves it to us to make up an almost $5,000 deficit every single semester. For a team of 20 or so active members, despite our best efforts, this is not an easy task. We are continually forced to raise our dues, and we put serious time into fund-raising.

There is no organized alumni program for club sports as there is for varsity sports, but with the assistance of the alumni office we have managed to appeal to our alumni for additional support. Still, dealing with such a financial burden is taxing and takes time and focus away from actually sailing. While our team itself is growing and rising in the rankings of the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association, our bank account continues to dwindle and our future as a club sport is uncertain.

When you think about the recently approved $25 million plan to renovate Matthews Arena, it seems ridiculous that Northeastern can’t focus a little more attention and funding on club sports, especially considering some are much more successful than our varsity sports. I understand there will be an addition to Matthews for club sports, but teams that practice outdoors clearly won’t benefit. Perhaps Campus Recreation could compensate those of us who will miss out. With just a little additional help, our club teams have the potential to flourish and perhaps inspire some more “Husky Pride” around campus.

-Kelly Rosencrans is a sophomore international affairs and environmental studies major and treasurer of the sailing team.

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