Joining a club sport is a fantastic way to get involved on campus for a number of reasons. It instills a sense of community, teaches valuable team-building skills, creates friendships and keeps students’ physical and mental health in check. But joining may not be feasible for some at Montclair State University, which poses a serious problem.
Montclair State offers 25 club sports including tennis, women’s and men’s volleyball, baseball, women’s and men’s basketball and women’s and men’s ice hockey.
Club sports are intercollegiate athletic teams recognized by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), a non-profit organization that supports intramural and club sports.
Club sports are typically student-run and are designed to serve students’ athletic interests at the non-National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) level. While intramural teams play solely recreationally, club sports travel for games, tournaments and may even go on to championships.
Because of this scale of involvement, club sports at Montclair State have strict requirements to join, one of these being hefty due payments. Out of the 25 club sports offered, 22 of them require due fees, with over half of them asking for 200 dollars or more.
Some club sports such as cheer, dance and ice hockey may push upwards of 1,000 dollars. This can become a lot for students to manage.
Now, the price point for club sports may be influenced by the cost of varsity sports. If you are charging a set price for one, why not charge the same for the other? Seems easy enough. However, this is not necessarily fair.
Montclair State Varsity teams are recognized by the NCAA, an organization that gives scholarships to well-performing student-athletes, as well as additional funding to support the athletic programs of different schools across the nation. NCAA Varsity sports can often open doors to successful athletic careers. According to the Montclair State athletics history webpage, the school has “captured five NCAA Division III national championships and has seen over 280 of its athletes named All-Americans.”
Because of these economic and professional advantages, a spot on these teams is highly sought after and can be very competitive. So, it makes sense when parents pay the big bucks to ensure their kids have the tools to succeed on the field.
But what if someone’s kid plays sports as a hobby? Sure, they could play intramurals and stick to the campus courts, but what if they want a consistent schedule, where their friends and family can see them competing? What if they want more out of their college experience than just sticking to their campus recreational room? Club sports should be an affordable option for them. Not every student has $200 or more to spend.
Applying these solutions may be easier said than done, but an effort must be made to be more inclusive to our underprivileged communities at Montclair State. Inclusivity makes us Red Hawk strong, as we should always aspire to be.