Senate allots funds for club sports travel

Ivar Vong

National championships for club sports are coming up, and alongside contributions to their travel expenses from their own pockets, club athletes are relying on their student government for money to go their tournaments.

The ASUO Senate’s surplus fund, which comes out of a portion of University students’ fees, has long been a funding source for club sports. It stands at about $100,000, and the Senate doled out parts of it Wednesday night to fund national championship trips for the University’s tennis and women’s water polo teams.

The latter got $5,340 to go to Tucson, Ariz., for its national championship. Water polo club coordinator Laura von Stockhausen was bullish about the team’s ambitions for the tournament.

“We want to take the national championship out of the California schools,” she said.

The club will be one of 16 competing in the national tournament.

The Senate also gave the club tennis team $2,121 for its trip to the national championship. Tennis club coordinator Lee Lenker bragged to the Senate about the tennis team’s accomplishments.
“We beat up on Washington,” he said.

The team will be one of 64 to compete in the national championship, which begins April 15.
“We’re looking to take down the tournament,” Lenker said.

Historically, because teams cannot foresee whether they will participate in national tournaments, they do not set money aside in advance.

“They’re not allowed to do that,” Club Sports Coordinator Sandy Vaughn said. “This is the process that has been followed for many years. It’s a good process.”

That policy, however, has historically also led to consternation among senators, who often balk when groups come asking them to help pay for the same event in consecutive years.

“You guys have this inconsistency within your activity,” Sen. Tyler Griffin told the club water polo team’s members. “You guys have been doing this for the past six years … Why have you guys not factored this into your budget?”

However, club sports are helped by the way they fund trips to national championships: Most clubs expect their members to pay a great deal of money to fund their participation in conferences, and the teams are adept at finding ways to reduce airfare costs. Even senators skeptical of paying to send students off campus are often happy to do so if the students going on trips have contributed their own money.

“You’re doing everything that I love to see in this budget,” Sen. Chris Bocchicchio told Lenker.

Nevertheless, the Senate agreed to fund both teams and expects others to follow.

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