In the club

The Athletic Department should allow club sports to overlap with varsity sports.

By Maroon Editorial Board

With 38 club sports teams offered by the U of C athletic department, it seems there’s something for everyone. Students can test their martial arts skills at two kinds of karate, ready themselves for retirement on the golf or sailing teams, or take out their finals-week frustrations on the rugby pitch. If you’re looking to start a club for a more mainstream sport, however, odds are you’re going to strike out.

Athletic department policy dictates that sports clubs can only receive funding if there’s no corresponding varsity team. Students hoping to get around that policy by applying to become an RSO don’t fare any better. The Committee on RSOs currently does not approve sports organizations, with the justification that they’re the purview of the athletic department.

The department’s policy has its merits, freeing up funding for a diverse array of sports. With many club teams already strapped for cash, the prospect of adding a club team where a varsity one already exists would place an added strain on available resources. Yet, in order to serve the most students possible, the athletic department should take general interest into account as well.

Club sports serve as an excellent middle ground for many students who want more than IMs have to offer, but can’t make the time commitment required by a varsity team. Moreover, many varsity athletes are recruited before they set foot in Hyde Park, leaving few spots for walk-ons. It’s also worth noting that although IMs are an excellent option for some students, they don’t do justice to others who want to compete consistently and at a higher skill level.

Sports like soccer or tennis may already have varsity rosters to their name, but they’re also among the most popular overall—something that can be confirmed by stopping at Henry Crown on a Thursday night or walking by the Stagg tennis courts on a Saturday afternoon. Rather than applying a blanket policy, the athletic department should decide which clubs it chooses to fund based on how many people want to play them.

The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and two additional Editorial Board members.