Intramural, club sports lack proper practice space


Once, an intramural softball player hit a foul ball. But instead of just hitting the ball into foul territory, the player also struck a practicing rugby player, a campus recreation director said.

Cristie Carpenter, associate director of campus recreation, said club sports have faced issues with limited practice space and a limited budget.

Carpenter coordinates practice facilities for the teams and said this scenario was not the first space issue club sports teams have faced while trying to all fit into the intramural field for practices.

Finding practice space for all the sport clubs has been a struggle, Carpenter said.

There have been major issues this semester because it’s hard to expect club sports to succeed individually when they are all crowded into a small space for practices, she said.

“All we have are the intramural fields,” she said.

The fields have to accommodate intramural teams plus the nine sport clubs that have to practice outside.

Club sports have to go through the athletic department to receive permission to use varsity athletic facilities, she said.

While varsity sports have worked with club sports to share facilities, ultimately, it’s varsity sports’ field space on their time, Carpenter said.

Outdoor fields have to be maintained, she said. Women’s and men’s lacrosse are hard on the grass because of the way the game is played.

Caleb Homer, a senior rugby player, said the club teams usually overlap each other in practices at the intramural fields, but try to split practice time amongst each other as best they can.

Currently rugby, lacrosse and men’s soccer all share the intramural field during practice, Homer, a general studies major, said.

Not all club sports have similar practice space issues though.

Carpenter said some sports, such as taekwondo, elite dance and volleyball are able to use extra space in the rec center to practice.

Lyndsie Gregorie, captain of the women’s club volleyball team, said the team hasn’t had any problems.

The varsity volleyball team practices in the special events gym while club volleyball practices in the rec gym, Gregorie, a physical education major, said.

Homer and Gregorie both agreed that Carpenter has done a great job keeping space organized and giving everyone time to practice on the limited spaces.

Carpenter said funding has been a big issue.

Campus recreation has a small, limited budget for club sports, she said. Once clubs meet all the university safety regulations, pay league and tournament fees and buy necessary equipment, there is a very limited amount of money although club sports have been receiving more money than ever before from SGA.

Individual sport clubs apply for funding with the Student Government Association each semester, Carpenter said. Each sport may be given anywhere from $200 to $3,000 by SGA, she said.

Additionally, some sport clubs raise money by hosting tournaments.

Gregorie said club volleyball hosts tournaments where other university club teams pay an entry fee to participate. The proceeds made from tournaments are then put in the club’s fund.

Carpenter said members of all club sports are also required to pay dues to their club team to help supplement costs.