Multiple Georgetown club sports teams expect obstacles to financial accessibility for students after the Advisory Board for Club Sports saw its funding decreased for the 2019-20 school year.
The budget decrease for ABCS, which supervises the overall administration and policies for the 34 club sports on campus, was approved by the Georgetown University Student Association Finance and Appropriations Committee on March 17. Even though ABCS appealed the original draft budget, FinApp still reduced the group’s requested $309,755 budget by $88,755, granting ABCS $10,000 less than its 2018-19 allotment.
The ABCS budget cuts will most directly affect club athletes who may now confront increased membership fees, which currently average $140 per year, according to ABCS treasurer Eric Diestelow (MSB ’19).
However, ABCS plans to offer financial support for affected students to remedy this issue, Diestelow said.
“Unfortunately, I believe the funding cut will be felt by individual athletes the most, as ABCS was forced to raise dues for many clubs to cover deficits,” Diestelow wrote in a statement to The Hoya. “Despite these dues increases, ABCS remains committed to financial inclusivity and will again offer dues assistance for any athletes indicating need.”
Some club sports, like Club Rock Climbing, already require significant financial commitment for equipment and participation. Club Rock Climbing members paid $125 in club dues during the 2019 spring semester, a sum that did not cover additional equipment such as harnesses or climbing shoes, according to a Club Rock Climbing email.
The budget cuts could signal even greater costs for students on the team, according to Club Rock Climbing co-captain Rachel Angle (COL ’20).
“The Club Climbing Team was disappointed with cuts to our budget for the 2019-2020 school year. Climbing is a costly sport, and we have been working over the past years to alleviate some of the financial burden for our members,” Angle wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The new budget will hinder our efforts towards reaching our goal of making the sport more accessible to the Georgetown community.”
The recent renovation of Kehoe Field impacted GUSA’s funding decision for ABCS this year, according to GUSA Senator Harry Clow (MSB ’19), ABCS’ liaison to FinApp. The current renovations to Kehoe influenced GUSA to provide increased funds for club teams attempting to find alternative playing spaces for last year’s budget, but the scheduled end of renovations in August 2019 will allow teams to return to the field.
The Georgetown women’s field hockey team plays on Kehoe Field, though numerous club and intramural sports teams also use the space.
The completion of these renovations and demands from other club boards led to GUSA’s decision to cut funding for ABCS, according to Clow.
“These cuts were made in large part due to Kehoe Field coming back online this coming fall,” Clow wrote in an email to The Hoya. “While I would have loved to see ABCS receive the same level of funding as last year at a minimum, I understand that we are working with limited resources and it is impossible to please everyone.”
Club Hockey has seen an increase in dues from $450 during the 2015-16 academic year to $700 during the 2018-19 year. Club Hockey leadership is also in budget negotiations with ABCS for the 2019-20 year, according to Club Hockey President William Bukowski (COL ’19).
Club Hockey dues have risen, in part, because of the ABCS has not kept up with the growing needs of its teams, according to Bukowski.
“It feels like club sports has grown massively, creating a need to stretch the same amount of money over more students,” Bukowski wrote.
The ABCS budget cuts come despite two new club sports teams in the past two years including Club Wrestling and Club Table Tennis and the addition of Club Skiing for the upcoming year, according to Diestelow. Club Fencing also faces uncertainty in the coming weeks as the team continues to negotiate its budget with ABCS, according to Club Fencing Treasurer Mark Massa (SFS ’20).
“We will have to ask for more money ad hoc, and we can’t be sure ABCS will have the funds,” Massa wrote in an email to The Hoya. “While it doesn’t necessarily compromise our operations, it does increase uncertainty and make leadership’s job harder.”
Club Fencing has transitioned to a new budgeting model in which they receive their budget in a lump sum at the beginning of the year, according to Massa.
“It does make it harder for club sports teams to adjust spending based off of unexpected needs, membership growth,” Massa wrote.
Other student organizations including Outdoor Education, the Performing Arts Advisory Council and GUSA also saw budget cuts March 17 despite appeals. Outdoor Education received a 43% budget reduction from the group’s initial request. The final performing arts council budget was 33.3% less than originally requested, and GUSA received an allotment 93% less than requested.
ABCS worked to curb the negative impacts of the budget cuts by funding over 70% of all club teams requests instead of cutting funding for any 2019-20 competitions, according to Diestelow.
“While I was disappointed in the reduction of funding, I understand that FinApp is working with limited funds and must make difficult decisions to meet the needs of many different organizations,” Diestelow wrote. “ABCS went to great lengths to minimize the impact of budget cuts on the teams we oversee.”