Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2023 @ 2:15 PM
Just like the sport they compete in, the way each UCF sport club receives funding differs from one another.Jim Wilkening, executive director for the RWC, said that this past Friday marked the 20th anniversary of the sport club program being established at UCF — when the Sport Club Council was established and took control of 26 clubs. Today, sports clubs are thriving as Kristofer Newsome, assistant director for Sport Clubs and Risk Management, said there are currently 45 sport clubs classified as registered student organizations. He said that no two clubs are alike, as the amount of funding they are given ranges from club to club.
Newsome said each of these clubs receives money from the RWC — money they can use to pay for things such as travel, league registration and equipment.
“To the majority of our clubs, the A&SF allocated funding is extremely important as it removes the financial burden of paying for lodging, rental vehicles, league and tournament registrations and the possible purchase of either airline tickets or payment for a charter bus related to the sport club RSO’s travel,” Newsome said.
Newsome said every year, a portion of the A&SF budget is allocated to the funding of sport clubs. He said this amount changes from year to year. For example, according to the AS&F’s 2021-2022 budget report, the amount given to fund sport clubs was $368,702, while the budget report from the previous year list that amount as $371,353. Newsome said the amount of money clubs are given has gone down in recent years due to budget cuts.
Newsome said the RWC splits the money they are given from the AS&F budget and gives it to each sport club. However, he said that each club does not receive the same amount of money. He said, instead, the amount they get depends on what classification tier they are in.
According to UCF’s sports club handbook, there are three classification tiers, and the first tier receives the highest amount of funding. According to the handbook, each club has a chance to be moved up a tier, while they can also move down a tier. Newsome said that a club’s tier is decided at a meeting at the end of the spring semester.
“All sport club RSOs have an opportunity to share their budget presentation with the Sport Club Council executive board members in late May and early June,” Newsome said. “The sport club RSOs talk about their historical spending habits, successes the past academic year, request funding allocation for the next fiscal year and how they plan on spending the requested amount … The Sport Club Council executive board members will make decisions on how much each club will be allocated for the next fiscal year.”
Since each year every club is allocated a certain amount of money, with each club receiving a different amount, Conor Smith, president of the men’s lacrosse club, said his club was “allocated about $10,000,” while Maggie Miller, president of the flag football club, said her club “got $1,000.”
Newsome said that the amount of money clubs are given changes each year.
“The amount can change from year to year depending on the direction in which that sport club RSO’s new student leadership would like to take their sport club RSO towards,” Newsome said. “The new student leaders might decide that they would like to compete in more off-campus tournaments, and therefore the sport club RSO would require additional funding. The opposite could happen, the sport club RSO feels that it is in a rebuilding stage and will not travel as much and therefore not need as much funding.”
There are many clubs, like the bowling club, that feel like the amount of money they are allocated should be greater.
“I believe that our sport club puts in enough work and performs well enough to earn more funding especially considering we are fully student-run,” David O’Donnell, bowling club president, said. “The number of hours our officers put in, alone, should warrant greater funding.”
Newsome said he believes more money should be invested into the entire sport club funding as it would “reduce the burden on students” and “provide a greater opportunity to purchase more promotional items.”
Newsome said that clubs are required to do things that help them earn some extra money. He said one of those events is through fundraising, and all clubs do this in some shape or form. For many clubs, fundraising gives the club more money than they were originally allocated.
Osvaldo Pelaez, president of the table tennis club, said each club has to fundraise 125% of what they were given.
“Funding essentially runs our club,” Malak Itani, junior kinesiology major and treasurer of the women’s soccer club, said. “Without funds from club fundraisers, we wouldn’t be able to compete against other Universities in-state and out-of-state. It would really put our players at a disadvantage, and they wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy the experience of getting to play competitive soccer again after high school.”
Some ways clubs fundraise are by setting up a gofundme account like the swimming club, partnering with a local restaurant for a dining night like the basketball club or selling food like donuts on campus like the wrestling club.
Newsome said the other way clubs could earn extra money is through a point system. According to a UCF Sport Club Council document, this point system runs year-round, and each club can earn points in 12 categories. Some of these categories are Council Meetings, Recruitment, Fundraising, Documentation and Community Service.
Each category has a set of requirements and offers clubs the chance to earn a certain amount of points. According to the document, under the Recruitment category, a club can earn a maximum amount of 20 points by receiving two points for each recruitment event they attend.
According to several club members, like O’Donnell and Miller, one of the most popular events that is part of the point system is the Sport Club Knights. This is where clubs are asked to go to the games pop UCF varsity teams, like the basketball or soccer teams. Miller and O’Donnell both said that clubs are given one point for each club member who shows up.
According to the document, at the end of the year, each club’s point total is added up, and they are given the amount of money they earned.
Newsome said funding is extremely important to the club’s success on the field, as it helps ease a burden on them.
“An away competition can be very expensive and instead of the students trying to pay for the travel with their own money or worse, having one or two student members paying for the entire trip with their personal money, they now only have to be concerned with scheduling the trip and competing at their highest level,” Newsome said.
Ultimate Frisbee at UCF, also known as the Dogs of War, warms up before a practice. UCF’s ultimate frisbee club is one of the clubs that receives funding from UCF.