Club Sports: Budgeting Woes

Matt Fichtel, Guest Writer~

There are currently 15 active club sports teams on campus, so the problem for the new club sports director, Benjamin Smith, has been to find out how to divide the budget between each team. Smith said that teams are not experiencing budget cuts but a reallocation of funds. This reallocation has affected some of the new, up-and-coming teams more than it has the older, more established teams.

Smith said that “When Drysdale opened, they realized that there wasn’t any associated budget to run Drysdale. So they were having to take funds from student activity fund to cover some of their cost there,” which meant taking money away from the club and intramural sports budget.

Smith devised an estimated budget for club sports based on the  cumulative team costing. As a result,  $125 became the individual dues per team. For some teams, this was a sharp increase from previous years and some of them were unable or not willing to pay it.

Smith noted that men’s club soccer did not pay all of their dues by mid-season and he was left with no choice but to cancel the rest of their season. He also said that Men’s Club Soccer is welcome to come back at any time, but they “Have to show that they’re viable financially on their own first.”

The $125 dues go towards things such as:

  • League costs
  • Referees/Umpires
  • Travel/Hotel costs

Outside of the $125 dues, each team is expected to fundraise for their uniforms, any extra equipment and anything else that the team may need or want.

During the fall 2016 semester, club sports collectively held a fundraiser at Chipotle that brought in approximately $500. In addition to fundraising, teams can charge additional dues.

Men’s club lacrosse used to charge $200 for dues in the past but Smith told the team “$125 is what I’m charging so the $75 is the difference,” which he said the team is using to purchase new uniforms.

As a way to get more funding for the program, Smith has “been reaching out with various organizations around Lynchburg trying to see if we can get some sponsorships” to alleviate some of the pressure from the teams and the school and to get some outside money and sponsors.

Club softball was formed during the fall semester of 2016, but did not start competing until the following semester in spring of 2017. The team was founded by then-juniors Jess Eisenbach and Taylor Cafro. Both Eisenbach and Cafro had been on the LC varsity softball team, but left during their first year. They agreed they still wanted to play softball, just not at the varsity level. Therefore, they started a plan to form a club softball team. However, it was not as easy as they thought it would be. The team struggled with getting field space for practice.

Cafro said they “Have to practice off campus, just because Coach Simmons doesn’t like anyone using her field.” Eisenbach added that they understand and respect Simmons’ decision, but that it has been an obstacle for the team because since they practice off-campus at Peaks View Park, they have to go through the City of Lynchburg Department of Parks and Recreation to schedule field time.

Map Showing Locations of Club Softball Games Played in Relation to Lynchburg College

Mileage Between Club Softball Game Locations and Lynchburg College

One part that the $125 dues cover is travel and hotel costs. In the past, teams have driven personal vehicles to off-campus games, but that changed with the new budget. Smith said the problem with that is that “The liability involved with that should an accident happen, it’s a liability for the institution, it’s a liability for the driver. As opposed to if they’re driving a school vehicle, then it falls on the institution’s insurance policy to cover.”  

Now, club teams drive school vehicles to their off-campus games. The students who will be driving need to have a valid driver’s license, fill out a quick form online and watch a short video on how to drive a passenger van. School vehicles are not always available though due to the limited number, so some teams still have to drive personal vehicles sometimes. Club Softball has to drive personal vehicles to their off-campus practices at Peaks View Park.

Women’s club volleyball was formed in spring of 2017, but they did not start competing until fall of 2017. Like club softball, women’s club volleyball struggled to gain their footing as a new team. The team had trouble getting the equipment they needed.

Myranda Waugh, secretary of the women’s club volleyball team, said that “Sometimes varsity isn’t exactly too sharing with their poles, nets and balls.” She also said that they had trouble getting practice time in Turner Gymnasium on campus because varsity and intramural teams get first pick at the schedule.

In fall 2017, the team had a few players quit the team because they could not pay the $125 dues. The team uniforms were not included in the price of the dues so the team had to buy their uniforms out-of-pocket. Molly Pittman, vice president of the women’s club volleyball team, said that the team does plan to fundraise this semester so they can buy some of their own equipment.