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Balancing the budget: executive sports council tasked with allocating funds for UNT club sports

Balancing the budget: executive sports council tasked with allocating funds for UNT club sports

The Pohl Recreation center sits at the intersection of Chestnut and North Texas Blvd. The sports council meet here. Kady Shirley

Balancing the budget: executive sports council tasked with allocating funds for UNT club sports
April 26
00:32 2017

Samantha Morrow | Staff Writer

There are 30 sports clubs at UNT with over 100 student athletes. With sports ranging from lacrosse to ice hockey, there are seemingly endless options for prospective students to choose from.

But when it’s time to divvy up money, govern and enforce rules and regulations, there are only five UNT students that call all the shots.

These students make up the UNT sports club executive council.

The five members of the council are nominated and then elected by leaders of the entire recreational sports program. Currently, the five members are junior Sara Salvati from women’s lacrosse, senior Josh Fuller from men’s lacrosse, junior Hugo Cardona from archery, senior Shelby Lyle from women’s rugby and junior Austin Sivoravong from climbing. These five members play a big part in deciding the most important part of being in a sports club: the budget.

Prior to each season, every sports club makes its case to the council about how much money they spend, how much money they deserve and why they should get what they’re asking for. Sometimes staying up past midnight to do so, the council convenes and will then look at the budget as a whole. After this is complete, they will then give their recommendations to the Recreational Sports Office.

“We [determine] which clubs deserve more money based on what they did last year,” Fuller said. “Retention, success in their season and fundraisers [all factor in]. The final say that is up to the Recreational Sports Office, but they listen to us most of the time.”

The money that is allocated to the program comes from the Student Services Fees Committee, and the amount they get is around $80,000, according to Fuller. Despite being a large sum of money, these funds are whittled away quickly due to the high operating costs of certain clubs.

One of the clubs that takes a large portion of the budget is the UNT men’s ice hockey team.

In fact, they take up 37.5 percent of it.

“The ice hockey team gets around $30,000,” Salvati said. ”I feel like everyone thought it is unfair for ice hockey to get so much money, but when you explain it out it makes sense.”

Part of the reason the ice hockey team is allocated a great deal of money is they do not have an onsite facility to practice, and many players pay out of pocket to play.

But the budget struggles don’t end with the ice hockey team.

On top of deciding how much money certain clubs receive, another difficult decision the committee faces is choosing which clubs get money taken away.

Dealing with the small money and deciding who gets funds taken away is what takes up most of the council’s time when discussing the budget. The amount allocated to the program as a whole has not changed drastically in the three years that Fuller has been on the council, but every year one club always needs a little more money than the year prior.

“I think pretty much everyone gets where we are coming from with the budget,” Fuller said. “But we are never going to please everyone all of the time.”

To help the council make decisions, The Recreational Sports Office has come up with a way to make hammering out the budget smoother and fairer.

This year, a point system has been introduced that takes into account the same things that the council does in terms of involvement, fundraising, number of members and number of competitions. Its purpose is to level the field and give all clubs the opportunity to earn more money.  Therefore, if a club is more active on campus, continuously expanding and turning in all of its paperwork on time, they will receive more points and possibly more money.

Graduate assistant of sports clubs Sean Washington believes even though the point system does not automatically decide who gets a certain amount of money, it will give the administration a justification for why a club received the funding they did.

“We went to the point system because we have clubs that didn’t think they were getting the money that they needed,” Washington said. “This way we can cover our bases and better explain the budget.”

Since its implementation, the point system among council members and sports club leaders has received mixed results.

Junior fencing club president Tiffany Miller believes the point system is straightforward and gives all clubs that are active the opportunity to earn more points and more money.  Miller’s only concern with the budget is not how the money is divided, but rather how much money they have to spend.

“If an organization is active, expanding and involved on campus, that organization is exhibiting the need for increased funding and appropriately so,” Miller said.

On the other hand, Carissa Bounds, senior and former UNT women’s volleyball club president, is not a fan of the point system.

“The point system does give each club an opportunity to earn points,” Bounds said. “If the club is smaller or doesn’t have good leadership it would be harder for them to earn points because they would be unable to get members to meetings or orientations.”

With this system in place, the council still will have a say in the budget with their recommendation — but not as big of one as they had in the past. The Recreational Sports Office will decide the budget 60 percent with the point system and the remaining 40 percent will still be left up to the council.

Since sports clubs are not school funded, the money they do get from the UNT is vital to how the clubs operate on a day-to-day basis. Without the money the clubs are given, the out of pocket cost for members would be even higher than some of the clubs already are.

Salvati believes that even with this point system in place, the council will still take the same amount of time creating their recommendations — it just adds incentive for clubs to get active.

“The effort you put in is what you are going to get out money wise,” Salvati said.  “Anytime you show up will not necessarily give you an automatic bonus, but those who do not show up will lose money.”

Featured Image: The Pohl Recreation Center sits at the intersection of Chestnut St. and North Texas Blvd. The sports council meets here. Kady Shirley

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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1 Comment

  1. Tiffany Miller
    Tiffany Miller April 27, 22:52

    Hi! Two things, 1) I am a senior–I’m actually about to go into my 5th year at UNT, so I’m more appropriately a “super senior,” and 2) I did not mention a concern about how much we as clubs spend, I stated that my only issue with funding within Rec Sports at all is that the Rec Sports department as a whole is not allocated enough funds by the Student Services Fees Committee. I would argue that we as clubs do not get nearly enough to offset our operational costs, but that is because our department (Rec Sports) is severely underfunded.

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