Over 1,400 students participate in club sports at CU, forming one of the largest collegiate club sports programs in the nation, according to Patty McConnell, a coordinator for CU’s club sports program.
CU boasts 33 club sports teams, from fencing to kayaking to lacrosse. The teams do not receive funding like a varsity team. According to the program’s Web site, the teams receive funding from member dues, individual fundraising projects, support through the CU recreation center budget and optional student-selected donations during class registration.
The majority of a team’s funds is generated by its dues-paying members. Dues can be as low as $20 per semester for fly fishing and as much as $2,200 per year for men’s lacrosse.
“I would say that three-fourths of that is spent on travel and only one-fourth is spent on equipment,” said John Galvin, head coach of the men’s lacrosse club team.
The lacrosse team takes four to five weeklong trips a year, which helps explain their high fees.
“Two to three of these trips cost around $22,000 each, which includes airfare,” Galvin said.
Another source of funding comes from the CU rec center. There are five tiers of funding available for the club teams from the rec center budget. Determining a team’s tier depends on many factors, such as how many members they have, how many competitions they schedule during the season and what level of competition they participate in.
For example, according to the CU Collegiate Club Sports Operations Manual, a tier-three team may be eligible to receive up to $1,600 in funding from the rec center if it has 20 active members and at least five competitions scheduled.
The men’s lacrosse team is considered a tier-one team, which means that it may receive up to $5,600 in financial support from the rec center’s budget if it has at least 40 members and schedules at least 12 competitions each year. It also must attend a national championship.
Most teams also raise money through fundraising projects such as t-shirt sales, working security for local sporting events and concession work at football and basketball games. In fact, it is required that a tier-one, -two or -three team work individually to raise an equal or greater amount of money as is donated to them by the rec center.
All students, whether they are involved in club sports or not, have the option of financially supporting the program by selecting student opportunity fees. Each semester during Web registration, students can select the first student opportunity fee to donate $4.75 to the club sports program. For the fiscal year 2005-06, 7,115 students chose to donate to support Collegiate Sport Clubs. Student fees alone raised $33,796.25. This money was divided among the teams.
The money is allocated according to budget proposals that every team submits in February. The budget proposals include cost estimates for the following year, including expected equipment, travel costs and expected membership fees.
According to the Club Sports Operations Manual, “Failing to submit a budget proposal on time will result in a financial penalty. Late budget proposals will result in a 25 percent reduction in the amount of student fees the club may receive. If a team fails to turn in a budget proposal, it will forfeit all possible student fee funding for the next fiscal year.”
Galvin said he is not unhappy with the amount of funding his team receives from the school, and that he does not usually have difficulties covering the costs for the team.