Sun Devil Sports club members are aiming to gain more financial recognition and support from the University, while gaining the respect that is given to their
peers in Sun Devil Athletics.
While Sun Devil Athletics brings an enormous profit and national recognition to the University, SDS President Adam Sandstrom argues that athletic clubs do the same.
Sandstrom, a biology senior and men’s club rugby player, said ASU’s men’s club rugby team was one of the reasons he chose to attend the University, even with the inflated costs of out-of-state tuition.
Still, ASU’s financial investment in the club sports programs, which must be dispersed between 36 teams, has significantly decreased during the past few years. Just within the last year, funding decreased from $189,000 to $100,000, Sandstrom said.
“We’ve been trying to promote ourselves to the University in a way where we are looked at as more of a prominent student organization and hopefully to gain more financial support,” Sandstrom said.
Nicole Frederick, accounting senior and former women’s club volleyball player, said she frequently had to pay out of pocket for expenses on top of $600-per-year in team dues. Funding from the University only covered tournament entry fees and part of the travel and lodging expenses, she said.
The women’s club volleyball team, like many other club sports, held fundraisers to cover expenses.
However, the money they earn is usually not enough, and players must pitch in for hotel rooms and gas.
However, the list of perks for Sun Devil Athletics athletes are endless, including more accessible tutoring, an earlier class registration than most of the student body and separate workout facilities. Transportation, lodging and food are also provided to athletes by the University when the teams travel out of town.
A recent gift given to many Sun Devil athletes was a free iPad, according to a Sun Devil athlete. Football players originally received iPads last fall as a study aid for film review, and other teams used the devices in following months. The source of funding for these items is not readily available.
The five student governments voted to endorse a $150-per-year athletic fee, which would replace a portion of tuition that funds University athletics. Undergraduate Student Government Tempe President Jordan Davis said he and USG aim to bring more transparency to how the University, and essentially students, fund athletics.
Media representatives for Sun Devil Athletics declined to comment or permit University athletes to comment.
While Sun Devil athletes may not think twice about wearing ASU’s revamped logo on their uniforms, Frederick said she considers this to be another perk of Sun Devil Athletics. ASU’s club sports are forbidden from wearing the pitchfork logo in games, practices and team warm-ups. Frederick said this shows an extreme lack of support from the University.
“I go to this University. I pay this much tuition a year, and I am part of a University club,” Frederick said. “And I can’t use the University symbol.”
Sandstrom said he hopes to change the university’s perception of SDS teams in his time as SDS president and a men’s club rugby player.
“We feel like we do represent the University on a national level, but the school seems to refuse to recognize that or support it,” Sandstrom said. “My mission as president is to prove our existence. We want to put the University in a position where they can’t refuse us.”
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