Not every student-athlete in college is a part of an NCAA program.
Thousands of students across the country, and hundreds across campus, are keeping their competitiveness alive through club sports.
According to club presidents, unlike intramural sports, club sports require dues payments and more time commitment. Club sports also travel and play against other colleges.
There are club teams for familiar sports like volleyball and tennis and more obscure sports like polo and rugby. If students cannot find a sport club that interests them, they can even start their own.
Bobby Flinn, a sophomore civil engineering major and president of the rugby club, said he has been playing rugby for four years.
“Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in North America,” Flinn said. “All of our new guys that have never played before instantly fall in love with the sport.”
According to the New York Times, there are around 2 million college students who play club sports, and only around 430,000 official NCAA athletes.
Club presidents said the dues each player pays, along with financial help from the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center, help pay for team expenses. The clubs are recognized as student organizations and are under the Department of Recreational Sports, according to the Recreational Sports website.
Flinn said the club team is seeing more students getting involved with tryouts and practices from past years. He said they had around 20 new freshmen come out to play this year.
According to The Guardian, over 67,000 high school students are registered with USA rugby, and between 2008 and 2013 participation in rugby grew by 81 percent. It also states the collegiate rugby championship is televised live every year on NBC, and receives “solid” ratings.
Flinn said most high schools do not have rugby as a varsity sport and most colleges do not offer scholarships for it.
Being a part of the rugby organization has helped him meet a lot of friends and develop his time management skills.
Ileana Acosta, president of the women’s soccer club, said she has been playing club soccer since her freshman year.
The senior psychology major said being a freshman can be hard, and club soccer helped her learn how to manage her time. She said many of her friends came from the soccer team.
“All the people that I have met through club soccer have somehow helped me,” Acosta said.
Acosta said she heard about the club team through flyers at the student recreation center her freshman year. Three years later, she is still happily a part of the team.
Michael Wilson is now a public administration graduate student and president of the men’s soccer club. He has been a part of the team since his freshman year.
Wilson said he has met some of his best friends through the club soccer team.
“If you’re looking for something super laid back, with no time commitment and no money involved, then I would stick with intramurals,” Wilson said. “If you’re looking for something that’s more competitive, but not quite the commitment of an NCAA program, then I’d say club is a perfect balance of that.”
Madison Nagy, a sophomore nutritional science major from San Antonio, Texas said she heard about the club volleyball team from her father, and got in contact with the former club president.
Nagy said playing club volleyball allowed her to meet a ton of good friends. She said all of her roommates today are on the club team.
“I like playing club because it’s still pretty competitive and I still get to be a part of the sport,” Nagy said. “I also get to have a social life.”
Nagy said she encourages anyone who is thinking of trying out club volleyball to come out the practices. She said it is a great way to meet new friends.
Students can get in contact with the president of a club team by clicking here.
Editor’s note: The Hub@TTU Faculty Advisor Phil Terrigno is the men’s rugby coach.