Dance team in need of additional funding, un-recognized as an official sport

October 17, 2016

Kyle Guthrie

[email protected]

     After the disbandment of the UCCS cheer team, the UCCS Dance Team club has worked to fill the void left at athletic and social events, according to Sabrina Oparko, captain of the dance team.

     The dance team has faced difficulties in obtaining additional funds for materials, such as costumes and equipment for events, said Oparko, a junior exercise science major.

     The Student Government Association has asked the team to perform at various events in the past, according to Oparko. Scheduling difficulties have also been an issue for the team.

     “When (SGA) asked us on Monday to do something (that) Thursday we went straight back to our team and we asked if we can do it,” said Oparko.

     “Even if the whole team can’t do it, we usually have at least ten people who are willing to.”

     SGA allots $3,000 for each club per school year. Once this money is spent, clubs must submit a request for more funding if they need it.

     While the team has applied for funding as a club through SGA, they are often denied additional funds for equipment, said Oparko.

     “It’s a bummer because we have to use what we can on our limited funding,” Oparko said, “then we get asked by the school, ‘well, why do you guys always wear the same thing?’ so it’s hard to come up with new and creative things because of it.”

     Several factors have also prevented the team from being recognized as an official sport, according to Jared Verner, associate athletic director for Sports Information and External Relations.

     Dance is not recognized by the NCAA and does not have an NCAA championship.

     “From a gender equity perspective, it does nothing to benefit UCCS in meeting any sort of national requirements for sport sponsorship,” said Verner.

     One criteria for a team’s formation involves Title IX, according to Verner. UCCS uses Title IX surveys to determine which sports students want on campus.

     Dance is not included on the Title IX survey, so the school cannot gauge interest in the formation of a dance team, said Verner.

     Additionally, athletics would face new issues with insurance if they made dance team an official sport.

     “With dance specifically, it raises insurance rates for us. What we ran into with cheer is that it significantly raised insurance rates because the likelihood of injury goes up,” said Verner.

     A lack of information about what the team should do next from the Athletics Department has been frustrating, said Oparko.

     “It’s like there is no communication, and we are willing to fill out paperwork or find a way to get a coach or find funding. I am totally willing to do all of that, but they won’t tell me how to do any of it,” said Oparko.

     While the future of the dance team becoming a sport is still up in the air, Verner said that right now, athletics has a couple projects they are trying to attend to first.

     “We are looking at two new sports facilities right now for expanding. We want to make sure that our teams are getting where they need to be financially and success wise,” said Verner.