Club Sports Committee Looking For Recognition

By Dave Heaton Hoya Staff Writer

The committee charged with investigating recognition and funding for club teams at Georgetown reconvened last Wednesday to discuss the future of club sports at the university. Dean of Students James A. Donahue, who called for the series of meetings following a GUSA report on club sports issued last semester, said that the group should be able to reach a final decision in the coming weeks.

At the meeting, Brian Walsh (COL ’02), chair of GUSA’s ad hoc sports club recognition committee, presented the student association’s latest report on club sports at Georgetown. The document, building on the theme “hanging in the balance,” highlights the struggle club sports have faced at Georgetown. Included in the report are articles from The Hoya from as early as 1995, when the club sports leaders first began a petition for university recognition and funding.

Athletic Director Joseph Lang said that the athletic department could not support club sports because there would be an expectation that proper support and facilities would be provided for the non-scholarship teams. This year, as the exploratory committee was being formed, the first meeting of the group was postponed for months as the athletic department delayed the appointment of a representative.

According to the GUSA report, approximately 275 students participate in club sports at Georgetown. It cited the International Relations Club, which has about as many members, as receiving an allocation of $13,000 from the Student Activities Commission for yearly operations. Club sports do not receive any financial support from SAC, OSP, the athletic department or any administrative department in the university.

“We get nothing now,” said Jim Goodfellow of the rugby team. “We’ll take leftovers.”

Georgetown’s club rugby team, which has featured several All-Americans in the last decade, is one of seven out of 700 club rugby teams not recognized by their respective university. Of those 700 schools, Georgetown is the only one that does not recognize any club sports, according to the report compiled by Walsh and fellow GUSA member Dominique Burzacchi (MSB ’00).

Walsh also expressed concern that the committee is not making much progress. Whereas the student members of the group made significant headway, he said that other members had not had much success in investigating the issues discussed at the last meeting. Rick Hall, director of intramural sports at Yates Field House, was to investigate Title IX issues, and Bill Woods, the university’s director of risk management, was to report on university concerns about liability. However, Woods did not show up to Wednesday’s meeting, and Hall did not bring any additional findings, according to Walsh.

Other members of the committee include Men’s Volleyball President Eddie Ferrer (MSB ’02), Director of Student Programs Mary Kay Schneider and Staff Counsel Lisa Krim. Outgoing SAC Chair Sacasha Brown (MSB ’00) was also in attendance. The last meeting, scheduled to be held before spring break, was postponed when university officials canceled at the last minute.

Nonetheless, Walsh remained optimistic, and added that both Donahue and Professor James Reardon-Anderson, a guest at the meeting, were positive about the proposal.

The last meeting, which was called by Donahue in response to GUSA’s first club sports report, focused on the university liability, Title IX funding and space. Since that time, no major developments have occurred in any category. “These are areas that students cannot work with,” Walsh said.

Also at the Wednesday’s meeting, Donahue said that he was concerned about the involvement of beer at rugby events. According to Walsh, Donahue was concerned that there is a drinking culture that accompanies rugby events. “That has no bearing here,” said Walsh. “It shouldn’t prevent all of club sports from happening because of a perceived lifestyle that might go along with one of them.”

“We’ll take whatever we can get. We have unbelievable talent. It is a shame that we cannot get any aid or recognition from the university. We are not looking for fame, only a little bit of respect,” said Meredith McCloskey of the Women’s Water Polo Team. cCloskey is an assistant sports editor for The Hoya.

“We compete in the name of Georgetown and are unable to reach our maximum potential without its help,” she said.

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