Club sports receive extra money from USI

Dennis Marshall

USI club sports gained an extra $25,000 from the university. The majority of the money goes to providing insurance for the athletes.

In addition to purchasing insurance, the money will be used to make traveling safer for the club teams.  Some of the funding will also be set aside because the university expects future growth in club sports.

“This is not going to uniforms,” said David Enzler, Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center director.  “They are still purchasing their own uniform. They still purchase their own food when they are traveling. We are not buying them expensive equipment and all that.  We are doing things to make them safer.”

He said he doesn’t think all the funds will be put to immediate use. The idea was to have money set aside for the growth of club sports, but one of the immediate uses of the funds will be used to purchase insurance.

“Our risk management officer on campus has been concerned about the liability for these activities,” he said.  “The university and the students needed to be better protected.”

Enzler said the funds will also help to improve the way teams travel to events.

“Sometimes they were traveling in ways, let’s say that were less than perfect,” Enzler said.  “They were putting too many in a van or they were putting too many in a hotel room and we thought, that’s not safe.”

There are new restrictions involving traveling, and the teams will have to follow all the rules they now have.

“Which is much safer for them as far as how many are in a van, who’s driving the van, what kind of vans they’re driving and how many are in the hotel room,” Enzler said. “It’s basically meant to insure the safety, to protect the students and protect the school too.We wanted them to not necessarily travel in style, but to travel safely.”

The club team coaches are volunteers and do not get paid.

“We don’t pay the coach,” he said.  “But if the coach has some expenses from traveling, we might help the coach a little bit.”

Associate Provost for Student Affairs Marcia Kiessling said it was important for the teams to receive the new funding because club sports are different than other clubs at USI.

“Club sports members are quite often the students that were playing varsity sports in high school. They are skilled and competitive and are competing with other colleges in their sport…it is just not at the varsity level of play,” Kiessling said.  “There are varsity sports, club sports and intramurals. Club sports are in between. They are not varsity, even though they still compete intercollegiately. They are a higher risk than other types of clubs.”

She said the teams were happy to hear they would be receiving money to help with traveling, but some were unhappy about the new restrictions.

“Club sports members are happy that they are getting some money now,” Kiessling said.  “Some of their members and leaders were not so happy when we (the institution) began to look at risk management issues, including the culture of travel in club sports, and began to provide guidelines that required them to change their practices.”

“If they are active and they have a need, they will be considered for additional resources,” she said.  “If they don’t have a need, they will not be considered for, or receive, additional resources.”