Last April at a large base budget meeting, the Student Finance Board (SFB) instituted a new policy for all club sports. Funding for the sports was taken out of the SFB agenda, and it was decided that club sports would have their own separate SFB-like organization, the Sport Club Advisory Council (SCAC).
“SFB met with some club sport representatives last year to discuss some new possibilities,” Amanda Tobin, junior business administration major and member of the club softball team, said. “We all decided that it made more sense to create a new board consisting of just sport-team representatives. Since we’re all athletes, we understand how important it is to buy new equipment and play games and tournaments.”
The council was given $42,000 to divide among all club sports throughout the year. With a representative from each sport, the council decides how much money each club should be issued for the year. This was decided after analyzing each team’s base budget, home game costs, membership dues, rental time and capital equipment.
“It is giving more control over how the money is distributed to our teams,” Tobin said. “It’s great being able to put the emphasis on our own team’s most important games or tournaments that we need funding for.”
Former SFB Executive Director Julia Pratt explained the logistics to the council, and it was then up to the members to organize how the council should be run. Senior secondary education/chemistry major Mark Fidanza took the helm as secretary of the council, the only position named.
“I do think it is an excellent system because it puts the power into the athletes’ hands,” Fidanza said. “Because of the same logic, it is hard to sit around the table and look at what other people (need) and sit face-to-face and tell them (what they can’t have) because it creates disputes. One of our meetings lasted over three hours.”
With all the work the council will be putting into its thought process, it realizes the benefits of the council and why SFB decided to separate them from the rest of the budget. With this new system, students participating in club sports will get back 80 percent of the student activity fee through SCAC.
However, this also makes it harder for a new club sport to get funding. To be considered a club sport, a team has to go through SGA to get approved first. This includes a long application process that may take up to a year. Once that is done, SCAC hears requests from the teams that wish to get funded at its monthly meetings.
Before this, a club had to come to SFB directly and was usually denied the money.
SCAC can only accept one male and one female team, or one co-ed team, per year. If multiple teams wish to get club status in the same year, this can create quite a waiting list. After hearing the request to become a club, the 17 representatives vote on whether a team will get funded. If a team is denied funding, it can never reapply.
Only time will tell if this is the best way to distribute money to club sports. As far as the council can see, however, it is the fairest way.