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RecSports changes club policies

Mel Flanagan | Friday, August 19, 2011

Under a new RecSports policy, club teams will be allowed to coexist with varsity teams of the same sport during this school year, David Brown, assistant director of club sports, said.

In the past, RecSports did not permit a club team to be formed if a varsity team already existed in that sport, Brown said. Now, students may apply to create a club team in any sport, even if that sport already has a varsity squad.

The new policy was good news for juniors Ben Galloway and Stefan Hogle. The pair will begin a club tennis team, a goal since their freshman year in 2009.

“Early in the spring semester, we were fortunate enough to be contacted and asked if we would be interested in pursuing this opportunity,” Galloway said.

Galloway and Hogle agreed that while intramural teams have been a great way to stay involved in the sport they love, they are excited to compete against other schools.

“We feel club teams will provide students with a way to take that competitive edge to the next level — to further encourage school identity and unity while still promoting college rivalries in a non-varsity setting,” Galloway said.

Hogle and Galloway, the club’s co-presidents, immediately accepted the offer. Juniors Nate Balmert, Matt Smith and Anna Wanzek will also serve as the club’s officers.

As the group applied for club status, Balmert said the process was complicated at first.

“Courts will also be tough to come by, but we will be able to get some time with priority similar to the Saint Mary’s team and there are high school courts as well,” Balmert said.

Smith said he has high hopes for the team.

“I know that interhall tennis teams were very strong, and that all of us were state or national players in high school,” he said. “I think there are a lot of kids that are great players but aren’t quite Division I players, and hopefully our club can take that role for some.”

While the tennis squad is the only group to take advantage of the new policy so far, Brown said RecSports will field 33 club teams this year. In addition to tennis, it has added racquetball, Nordic Ski and Tai Chi Gong Fu. A club team for outdoor sports, such as hiking and climbing, will also begin this year. Due to lack of interest, Brown said RecSports eliminated men’s running and 180Fit.

Despite the changes, Brown said the procedure for founding any new club sports will remain the same.

“Some criteria include submitting a constitution, a prospective advisor that must be approved, demonstrated interest in the sport on campus, a slate of club officers and so on,” Brown said.

Club officers must also find nearby schools that compete in their sport, and they must investigate the rules and requirements for its associations in the Midwest. Brown said the club must also address if Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students will be allowed to play on the team.

Regardless of any preliminary obligations, Brown said there are always issues that come up with each club, such as finding and maintaining the necessary practice or game space.

Clubs are also required to partake in at least one community service activity.

“I have interviews with the prospective club officers to discuss their mission and expected activities, among other topics,” Brown said.

Brown said some students have expressed interest in forming other club teams under RecSports’ new rules, but none have taken the necessary steps to apply like those interested in tennis did.

“Students interested in men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer and coed golf have made inquiries and may petition for recognition next year,” Brown said.