Club sports at Ithaca College are as important as varsity sports. They offer students the ability to participate and be active in the community through sports without being a part of a varsity team that comes with a longer time commitment and a different selection process. Some students who chose not to pursue college level sports but are still interested in being a part of a team and being active have found a good middle ground in club sports. The main concern as of right now is the lack of resources, funding and staff members that are allotted to these club sports.
Currently there are even more competitive club–sports teams than there are varsity sports. Lauren Hoffman, program coordinator for Recreational Sports, and Sean Reilley, associate director of Recreational Sports are the only members that are overseeing the 39 clubs, 27 of which are competitive club–sports teams. Both are trying to serve the clubs to the best of their abilities, but at the end of the day, there’s only so much two people can do. There needs to be more staff members, or how else can each team receive the attention and resources they deserve? Understaffing is a current issue sweeping across the campus, extending to club sports as well. However, to successfully run these club sports and address what they need, there needs to be more hands on deck.
Another widespread issue on campus are budget cuts. The club–sports program is facing a large budget deduction, lowering from $90,625 to under $50,000 this year. The issues the club sports are currently facing are issues seen across the campus and they need to be addressed soon. Sports in any form, varsity or club, are vital for students. It allows students to feel engaged in the community, and it’s a passion for many students on campus. Clubs like the esports team are doing extremely well in national competition, yet it receives little to no attention from the college. These organizations provide opportunities for students to make friends, build valuable skills and have fun outside of classes. These clubs need to be given the attention and resources they deserve, rather than pushed aside and allowed to struggle by themselves.
The college cannot afford to make cuts on these kinds of recreation. Students need club sports, and they need to know that the college cares about what matters to them and that it is actively seeking out solutions. If students are the college’s “why,” why is the college neglecting a vital part of college life that students obviously care about?
By increasing staff, ensuring that all teams have time and space to practice and even just recognizing that club–sports teams are valuable activities for students to participate in, the college can affirm its commitment to club sports.