An individual or group competitive activity involving physical exertion or skill, governed by rules, is the definition of sport. The Club Sports program on our campus fits under this definition, though some say there is no real talent in the program.
“I say that’s a lie. If they come out to one of the games, they will see the athletic skill, ability and level of competition that we play in,” said Andy Bass, President of the Rugby club. “We have had people cultivate their skills through Club Sports and represent the U.S. on a national level,” said Amy Swingle, Assistant Director of Club Sports.
There are a few sports that are in the program that actually compete with other school’s varsity teams. The Trap & Skeet club has competed against Yale, the Air Force and WestPoint in previous tournaments.
Yet, Club Sports is not a recruiting system for the university athletic department. “The program is not a feeder system for inter-collegiate sports. Inter-collegiate sports is more of a feeder system for club sports,” said Swingle. “I’d be surprised of a coach that would recruit from the student body.”
All students are eligible to participate in Club Sports, regardless of their experience level. “A student can not be dismissed from a team because of their playing ability,” said Swingle. Though in most cases only the top ten will make the traveling squad. Some clubs such as tennis and bowling allow faculty to play.
“A lot of people come from high school, who for some reason or not don’t play inter-collegiate sports and are looking for a sports outlet,” said Swingle. “Club Sports provide that outlet.” Stryker Stinnette, President of the Ultimate Frisbee team, said, “It’s a good work-out, and it’s very active.”
The Club Sports program was founded in the late 80s and revolves more around student organizations than the traditional style of inter-colligate sports. “Club Sports are student organizations that form based on a common interest, revolving around a particular sport,” said Swingle.
“There are no trainers, and no weight room time scheduled in as classes or any of that. The students organize everything.” The clubs revolve around play against other schools in tournament, league, or match play. “I have a great deal of respect for student who play club sports, because the sacrifices to play are very high. They pay everything out of pocket,” said Swingle.
One of the oldest Club Sports, on our campus is the Rugby club. The team has been on our campus for 31 years, and it has been apart of Club Sports ever since it was founded. The Rugby club is the only team apart of the program that offers scholarships for its players. Kirby Dorman was the first recipient of the scholarship, which he received this year.
The season length varies between the different teams, and the players engage in the “Busiest,” play during the spring. Since, there is no medics on hand during the different play between clubs, each team is required to have two people on their squad that know CPR. “I don’t even think about getting injured while I’m playing,” said Bass. “Each player must have health insurance,” said Swingle.
Students will be able to meet and greet some of the different club sports members during the beginning of the year during, “Club Sports Feast.” The feast gives the clubs a chance to go out and do some recruiting, said Swingle.
Baseball, inline hockey, men and women lacrosse, men and women Soccer, power lifting, racquetball, rugby, martial arts, men and women volleyball, tennis club, and trap&skeet are among the sports offered in the program.