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USF Sports Clubs Nearly Defunded by Student Government: Here’s How they Reacted

Credits: SoFloBulls

For Summer Garcia, the women’s hockey club at her college isn’t just a hobby—it’s her community. That sense of belonging was nearly taken away during a recent Student Government (SG) senate meeting on Feb. 20.

The women’s hockey club was among more than 60 clubs that were almost deemed ineligible for funding. Initially, the Senate voted against funding sports clubs, citing an interpretation of SG Clause 801.4.1 in the finance code.

This clause stipulates that any student organization receiving Activity & Service (A&S) funding cannot deny access to any USF student. A&S fees are paid by students and distributed by SG.

USF Sports Club (Credits: ABC Action News)

The Senate interpreted that some clubs were restricting membership to only Tampa-campus students, excluding those from the St. Pete and Sarasota campuses.

While typically, issues require a 24-hour notice before being put on the Senate agenda, an exception was made in this case due to its urgency and impact, according to Senate President Fariah Asari.

After a revote, the Senate approved funding for sports clubs, including the women’s hockey club. This decision came as a relief to Garcia and others, who feared being displaced without the club.

Paige Lahrer, the vice president of the women’s hockey club, emphasized the devastating impact defunding would have had on the club, which is still in its early stages.

The club, founded just over a year ago, relies on funding to pay its coaching staff and for practice time at ice rinks, which can amount to as much as $17,000 per semester.

Megan O’Reilly, the executive chair of the Student Sports Club council, played a key role in ensuring the issue reached the Senate. She expressed gratitude that students would continue to have a place to make connections.

The revote not only secured funding for sports clubs but also highlighted an opportunity for more students to get involved with SG, according to O’Reilly.

Murray Alfred, coach of the men’s rugby club and a former student president, stressed the importance of funding for clubs like his, which use the funds for travel to tournaments and equipment.

Derrick Leisam, the men’s rugby club president, expressed relief that his club would continue to receive funding, highlighting the close-knit community that sports clubs have created on campus.

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