20190408 Spires Club Sports Soccer - Aboone

Gonzaga men's club soccer is one of multiple club sports organizations that is looking for new avenues of fundraising in wake of recent cancellations and restrictions.

Gonzaga hosts many diverse clubs on campus, which continue to create community and relationships among students. For former high school athletes who do not want to commit to the Division I athletics schedule at GU, club sports is an option for students to keep doing what they loved to do in high school and meet new people.

However, with concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the rest of the 2020 spring semester was moved online, keeping with social distancing practices on the state and national level. With this in mind, club sports at GU stopped, and the financial security within each club sport was impacted due to the lack of funding provided.

GU club women's volleyball president Laurel Cinti said that if GSBA were to retract the funds it gave to the club volleyball team, it would have a negative effect on the team’s finances, specifically with the funding that GSBA allotted for the team for nationals. 

“That would affect our finances negatively if they [GSBA] took away the funding for nationals that they allotted us because we will not be getting the full registration fee back from our nationals tournament,” Cinti said in an email.

Cinti also said that if the team is able to keep the GSBA funding, she is hopeful that it will decrease the teams’ dues, which ideally would result in more students being able to play club volleyball.

“Our dues are not the highest for the club sports but they still may put a burden on individuals and or families,” Cinti said. “If we are able to keep the money from this year for next year, this would greatly decrease the dues required to cover tournaments, gym space and traveling.”

Senior Anton Easterbrook is serving as the club president for the men’s club soccer team. Easterbrook said he, along with his treasurer, had the responsibility to keep eyes on their finances, making sure they had an inflow each semester to keep the team running.

Easterbrook said this was an unfortunate time for his club to be shut down, just like many other clubs. This was an important time for GU men’s club soccer, as this is a busy spring semester, as a lot of the team's money goes out during early spring. Easterbrook said the team was on the tail-end of the spending season and were heading into the fundraising season, and they were getting low on balance.

“We still have a balance, but with things like next year’s registration coming up this month as well as other tournaments, we were kind of caught in a limbo where we’re not able to fundraise like we normally do, but we still have expenses that we normally do,” Easterbrook said.

He said now the team is looking to find more creative solutions to find financial inflow, as they originally planned events at local restaurants in Spokane, while also planning a bowling event that was critical for the team’s fundraising. Easterbrook mentioned the idea of doing something more donation-based from a virtual stance.

Going forward, Easterbrook said that club sports are going to have to consider different alternatives to fundraising, as most clubs do the same path of gaining money.

“I think this is forcing us and other clubs to think of more solutions and maybe even better ways of gaining money,” Easterbrook said.

For the future successor of the club president position of the GU men’s soccer team, Easterbrook said the transition is going to be different than in past years. Rather than having to sit down with the current president and talk about plans going forward like Easterbrook did when he was named president, Easterbrook said it will be more difficult to hand over the reigns in the future.

“Having said that, it’s definitely possible to keep running as smoothly as we have been,” Easterbrook said. “It’s just going to take more planning and more time to figure out everything.”

Cinti said it will be telling how GSBA moves forward on club sports funding. 

“Since club sports are to my knowledge the most expensive club to be a part of, it would be hugely beneficial to the equity of our students to decrease the dues for club sports,” Cinti said. 

Michaela Johnson, program coordinator at the Center of Student Involvement, said that under the circumstances most companies including hotels, national leagues and airlines have been accommodating about giving full refunds where possible.

“Where full and direct refunds haven’t been a possibility, CSI is working with the club to ensure the most favorable outcome for them regarding finances and we believe no club will see a negative financial impact when it’s all said and done,” Johnson said in an email.

Vinny Saglimbeni is a sports editor. Follow him on Twitter: @vinnysaglimbeni

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