By Brittany Burke
During the 2011 Student Government Association elections a platform was introduced that would potentially separate the funding of club sports from academic clubs.
In the past there have been misunderstandings between the club sports teams and the SGA, leading to problems with base budgets and confusion. To minimize the confusion and aggravation for both parties, newly-instated President Eric Bergenn, Vice President Liz Braun and Treasurer Nick Alaimo have begun to look into the possibility of splitting sports from academics.
“I think it’s great just to get the clubs finally, just to be on our own…so people can finally realize that we actually do need money,” said rugby club president Nick Kowaleski. “This way if they separate us from other things I think we’ll just be more listened to and we’ll be more…represented if we’re our own separate thing now. I just feel like it’s going to be a lot better.”
This idea isn’t something that will be taken lightly by the SGA senate and finance committee, but it is an idea that was well-received by the respective club sports.
“I understand that it could take a full academic year to get an idea around, although I don’t think that it actually will take that long, but as far as SGA is concerned they may want to wait a year until they are comfortable with it,” said Kevin Leaver, hockey club treasurer. “But I think this is an idea that needs to be adapted immediately. It’s going to work out in the short term and long run for the two different parties of academic clubs and sports clubs. I’m excited that that’s finally been thought of, and I’m sure the SGA and SALD will be able to brainstorm quite well together to best go about having two separate pools of funding for clubs.”
For now the idea is to modify the paper work used by the team clubs and academic clubs which will be more compatible to each one’s needs. There was talk of potentially delegating a specific pool of money for just club sports usage, but the new ideas will take time and need to be implemented step by step.
“I think we should see how [the new paperwork] goes first, then see what we can do after that,” said Kowlaeski. “Like I said before, and I’m going to keep saying it, what Liz [Braun] wants to do is a great idea, and I think it’s going to work. But I think we should try that before we try anything else but, it’s getting easier in trying to get money, especially in the base budget this year. It’s been easier this year than we’ve ever done it and we’ve gotten more than we ever got.”
The main concern between both the SGA and the club sports has been the communication between the two parties.
“I think [SGA] understands what we’re trying to do and what we do,” said hockey team president Ryan Beaulieu. “I mean maybe they don’t understand the scope or size of what we do, but I think they understand that we play games, and we compete, and we go to tournaments, and we host tournaments, we have playoffs I think they understand that. [The new system is] going to be easier for [SGA] to understand what we’re asking for and it’s going to be easier for us to portray to them what we need and why we need it.”
According to the hockey and rugby representatives, while the new idea is still in the early stages, they can already tell that the SGA’s interest has had a positive effect on the base budget requests, and they understand where the SGA is coming from.
“I am happy with how much the hockey team and the lacrosse team has been allocated for next year,” said Leaver. “I think it’s record amounts I believe, at least since I’ve been at this university. It is frustrating because…the nature of this base budget request process, the SGA finance committee has so many more questions for us, which I completely agree with, they want to be thorough, but that’s just it, there’s so much more that needs to be covered which is why club sports need to be considered for separate pool of fundings.”
The SGA senate and finance committee are still looking into ways in which they can enhance their ways of dealing not only with club sports, but sports in general. According to Alaimo they are researching schools such as Southern Connecticut State University and their ways of handling separate committees, but every idea is still one that must be thought about and discussed before it can be implemented.
However, despite what happens in the short run, both club teams and the SGA are set to benefit.