At UCCS there are club sports and NCAA Collegiate sports, and both must follow steps to become official at UCCS. An NCAA Collegiate sport has to worry about Title IX, funding, recruiting and following NCAA rules.
A club sport is different from a social club because of its focus on competition. Club sports are required to compete at least once per semester, and collegiate level competition is encouraged. Social clubs focus on building relationships around a common interest, according to Bill Moorman, the manager of sports and youth programs at UCCS.
Students who wish to start a club sport will have mentorship available throughout their competition stage. UCCS Club Sports leadership will also provide training on all aspects of operating the club. From creating a budget to personnel management, students will have a guiding hand throughout the process.
“We are there for them,” Moorman said. “For every step of the journey from the moment that they decide ‘hey, we think this could be a good idea to be a club sport,’ all the way till they’re competing, and actually doing the thing that they love.”
The path to starting a new club sport includes the pre-application phase and the committee approval phase.
The first phase consists of the initial meetings between club sports faculty and prospective club sports officers. Officers will discuss their goals, required purchases, safety requirements and competition potential for the new sport with the faculty.
Once officers establish the basics of the club sport, the club sports program will assist the officers in marketing their club and recruiting new members. This recruitment will be done either through the recreation center or through other events sponsored by UCCS.
Once clubs establish a solid base of participants, the officers must begin the administrative processes involved with establishing the club sport. This process includes creating a club constitution and establishing membership, academic and duty requirements for the sport.
The final requirement in the first phase is creating a budget for all purchase and maintenance requirements for the club. Once that is all completed, officers can submit their applications through the UCCS website.
The second phase involves approval from the Club Sports Executive Committee. The CSEC is comprised of six students elected by the club sports program. According to Moorman, this committee is a student-run governance board that approves new club sports and is involved in policy changes to the club sports program.
The committee then decides if the prospective club sport is approved, conditionally approved or not approved. They are primarily concerned with financials, safety and competition feasibility for the new club.
Once the club sport is approved, students may begin generating funds. Funding for club sports comes from two sources: the team generated and UCCS generated funding. Team and individual funding come from club fees and fundraisers, while UCCS generated funds are requested through the Student Government Association.
“The majority of their budget that they support is from the self-generation side,” David Fehring, the associate director of campus recreation, said.
Club fees can range from $25-$1,200 per semester. These funds help buy uniforms and equipment, as well as subsidize travel and hotel costs. In addition, some leagues require fees to join, such as the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
The other source of revenue is from SGA. According to Moorman, clubs can annually request funding from SGA and can receive up to $5,000 per year for club-related expenses.
If the SGA funding request is approved, UCCS holds the money and clubs must get approval to access those funds. The club’s needs determine their approval.
Clubs have utilized fundraisers to meet their budget, such as the Tennis Mountain Lion Fall Classic Tennis Tournament put on by the tennis club. Other clubs work with local businesses to donate a portion of the profits for a night to the club.
The work to create a long-lasting club sport begins at its creation. According to Moorman, the longevity of a club is determined by the strength of the leadership and the effective transfer of oversight once the old leadership graduates.
He said, “The clubs that do a really great job of continually educating, not only the current officers but also being intentional with bringing up the leadership over the course of several years so that way there’s never that loss of leadership, those are the ones that survived a year.”