In the world of college varsity athletics, those of us who don’t have the elusive title of “varsity athlete” are considered NARPs, non-athletic regular people. As a Division III school that is in a conference with a lot of “nerd schools,” we do pretty well for ourselves, I must admit, in terms of varsity athletics. With a men’s soccer team that consistently makes Final Four appearances and a women’s soccer team who was handed only their second loss of the season this past Sunday, Oct. 14, our athletics department has a right to boast its successes, even with its controversies over the last year.
And also having been ranked third in the country by the Princeton Review for the section, “There’s a Game?” attesting to our lack of varsity sports attendance, sports seems extremely irrelevant, unless it’s the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles fighting over the Super Bowl title.
One of the best parts of being in college, opposed to high school, is that the school gives non-varsity athletes the opportunity to play sports with others at our school. As a former varsity athlete in high school, I’m glad to have the opportunity to play a sport that I love with good players, in an extremely competitive environment, even though it isn’t at the varsity level. It proves that we don’t all have to be varsity athletes to be good at a sport. I’m sure many of us could participate on varsity if we had the option to but choose not to for various reasons.
The biggest downfall in Brandeis’ athletics is its treatment of non-varsity athletes. Brandeis athletics has a rule that sports teams that have varsity sports cannot also be considered club sports. Since we have a varsity tennis team, Brandeis Tennis Club is not considered a club sport but a sports club. Another example would be the popular Brandeis Football Club (BFC), both the men’s and women’s teams.
Even though we compete against other club teams around the state and the country, we are not given the same luxuries as club sports are given. This is not fair. I am in no way trying to bad-mouth club sports; I have many friends who are a part of them, but sports clubs deserve better from both the Student Union and the athletics department.
One of the biggest issues that I have with club sports is their access to transportation. As a designated club sport, these clubs are able to take out the athletic vans, at little to no cost to them. One hundred percent of their transportation was covered in previous year, but it has been set back to 80 percent to match the 65 percent subsidy that all other clubs receive.
As a sports club, we are required to find our own transportation to matches. We have to drive ourselves to the majority of our matches with our own gas money. In the off-chance that student activities lets sports clubs use the Waltham Group vans, a lot of clubs are still required to pay for their own gas, with only a 65 percent reimbursement of funds.
Also, a luxury afforded to club sports is the ability to have space in Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. All club sports have locker space to store all their equipment when they are not at practices, which is both an amazing convenience and luxury to have.
Our president is required to carry around a ginormous tennis bag and a basket of balls to and from every practice to so we are able to provide racquets if necessary and tennis balls to hit with. If she didn’t have a car, transporting would be ten times as difficult and more of a hassle than it’s honestly worth.
But club sports, such as club squash, are able to leave all their materials right inside Gosman, accessible at their fingertips whenever they have practice.
Another issue is the scheduling of indoor spaces as Gosman. As a sports club, we are not given designated reserved times for practices, oftentimes having practices out in the cold purely because the courts are way more accessible there. With only three indoor tennis courts, it’s oftentimes very cramped, and club sports get priority over space in Gosman.
Tron and Banshee require the entirety of the main floor of Gosman, including the tennis courts, track and Auerbach Arena to host practices, preventing anyone else from using the space unless it is the weight room or dance rooms. And on top of varsity courts always reserving the courts in case of rain, there is not much time left for sports clubs.
Sports clubs should also be given the opportunity, and right, to reserve spaces for designated times without worrying about being booted off by club and varsity sports that believe they take precedence. As sports that often compete with other colleges and universities, we need time to practice or we would just make a fool out of ourselves on the court.
With 1.7 percent of our tuition going to the expenditures set by the Allocations Board (A-Board), I feel like every club should be able to have the same benefits when it comes to the resources of the university. We are the ones inherently paying for it, even if we don’t have to pay for gas or tournament fees when we sign up. So why should some sports get priority over others when we are all competing at essential the same level across these sports?
This is not a problem within A-Board; they are simply following the policies that have been set by their predecessors.
We already have enough trouble as it is during marathon because sports clubs are not part of the club sports secured clubs spending, and they got over $300,000 last semester from marathon. As a secured club, each of the club sports asks for a certain amount of money and all the money is allocated within a general grant.
The Club Sports council, a six-member council, then distributes the resources as they see fit. The council is one of the upsides to being a sports club instead of a club sport. With almost 20 club sports and only six seats on the council, club sports with members on the council have a significant advantage over other club sports.
At least with sports clubs, we vouch for ourselves and do not have a power above us controlling our assets, aside from A-Board.
All I’m asking is that we get some of the benefits that club sports are afforded. The money is nice but not an essential need; sports clubs are usually allocated enough money to pay for a majority of their expenses. The largest discrepancy is access to resources within the athletic department.
Sports clubs are as much a sports team as any club sport or varsity team. Some may even say we’re better because we’re even more inclusive than try-out sports, so why don’t we get the same treatment in Gosman with accessibility? Share the wealth, please—it will make us all happy.