Sport Clubs 101

Sport Clubs

Through campus recreation, students have a wide variety of options for engaging in active, healthy lifestyles. If students want to tap into their competitive side, Sport Clubs are the perfect choice. Typically, schools will offer a range of sports from traditional options, like soccer and volleyball, to the more non-traditional sports, like figure skating and quidditch.

Whether you are new to the recreation industry or trying to ensure your Sport Club program is top-notch, we have highlighted the basic fundamentals of a Sport Club program.

How do students start a Sports Club?

“To start a Sport Club, you need a group of 10 students to show interest in the club,” said Jason Werle, the Assistant Director for Intramural and Sports Clubs at the University of South Florida.“Then they will set up a meeting with the Center for Leadership and Student Engagement, as well as Campus Recreation. We will walk them through the process of what it takes and everything they need to make the club official. They must have three elected officers, so they must have a president, treasurer and a risk manager. Then they have to put a constitution in place and a risk management plan in place. Once they get all of the requirements, they can create a Sport Club. Some can do it in a matter of a few weeks, and for others it takes a few months.”

How are Sports Clubs staffed?

“Each Sport Club has to write their own constitution that breaks down the responsibilities of each person,” said Stephan Pappas
Exceutive Director of Recreation at Rutgers University. “There is usually a president, a treasurer and a risk manager at the bare minimum. Some clubs might have four or five officers. They can also have captains. For example, the men’s ice hockey club has three officers, but then they have two captains. The captains are the leaders on the ice and the officers are the leaders for everything else.”

How are officers elected?

“Every club has their own process for elections,” said Werle. “We have elections every spring and they are completed by April. However, the format of elections may vary from club to club. Sometimes all of the members of the club will vote, sometimes one position is appointed by the outgoing leader, some clubs have anonymous votes and others have a majority vote.”

What is the difference between Intramural Sports and Club Sports?

“Intramural sports play in house,” said Pappas. “For example, a dorm floor will gather 10 people to form a team. They don’t necessarily practice, they just come to scheduled games and it is all within the university. Sport Clubs is between varsity athletics and intramural sports. They practice two or three times a week and they compete against other schools. An increasing number of sports are getting their own conferences, regional tournaments and national tournaments.”

How are Sports Clubs funded?

“All of our Sport Clubs are funded by our Student Government,” explained Werle. “But for the majority of our clubs, it does not cover the cost for that club to operate. A lot of the funding they get is a good base and the clubs can decide how they want to allocate those funds, whether it is league fees, tournament fees, travel, equipment or a variety of things. Then a lot of the clubs fundraise externally to continue to raise the money they need to fully be able to compete or make their club fully functional. We do not allow clubs to mandate membership fees or dues. Since they are classified as student organizations, all USF students need to have access to the clubs without additional fees.”

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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