Stony Brook’s crew team strives for better funding to compete in more races

Crew Team

By Jedidiah Hendrixson and Kristie Kam

With four major races to go this spring, all costing between $1,000 and $4,000, but only $12,000 left in their operating budget, Stony Brook’s crew team campaign is in jeopardy.

Of the four races, one of them is the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championships (MARC), which counts as a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition. The other one is Dad Vails, a famous race in Philadelphia, Sean Kreitzer, the club’s President said.

“The 4th race and the MARC race are both high profile races where we can prove our worth,” he explained. “But the budget is limited this year. A lot of money was spent on the maintenance of old boats and the increased price of coaching.”

Unlike the varsity teams which have direct funds and facilities for practices provided by the athletics department, the crew team, along with 34 other club sports, are solely funded by the Undergraduate Student Government.

According to the USG financial budget 2015-16, club sports receive funds ranging from $15,000 to $99,000, with crew receiving $29,500. Yet, NCAA teams like men’s basketball maintain an operating budget of up to $2 million, stated in NCAA Analysis of Revenues and Expenses.

Their budget is barely enough to cover all expenses, especially getting new equipment and competing in other states other than the east coast.

“We currently have ten rowing machines, but not all of them are functional. Our goal is to get more for the next semester in order to accommodate for the increase in rowers and for the broken ergs. Because of our limited budget, we have to work with what we have,” Jacky Li, the club’s Vice President, said.

Taylor Bouraad, the USG treasurer explained, “Yes, they can do more if they have more money but we are at a place that if we give them more money, we have to take away from the others.”

“If you belong to the athletics, money goes to athletics teams. I can see how it can be unfair to the clubs and they are frustrated,” she said.

As a club sport on campus, the team also has to use spaces at the campus recreational center for practices.

The center is open to the whole student body, so club sports are not allowed to practice inside after 6pm, Thomas St. John, the Associate Director of Intramurals and Club Sports said. St. John also explained it can be tricky to negotiate space for club sports because  recreational activities is open to the community, intramurals and fitness and awareness classes.

Stony Brook Club Sports from Jedidiah Hendrixson on Vimeo.

“Students give a lot to make their sport successful but NCAA team and club sports are two different machines. NCAA athlete is a huge recruiting tool. It generates a lot of interest for the university,” he said.

Kreitzer hoped there can be more storage for equipment and more practice time in the space his team uses

“We already compete with NCAA schools of all levels but we have nowhere near the same resources other schools do which puts us at a severe disadvantage in a sport so heavily focused on the equipment/boats,” Kreitzer said.

The crew team proposed joining the Colonial Athletics Association in December last year. It  is the crew team’s equivalent to the NCAA level of the school’s football team. Yet, the team has not received any responses since then.
“A lot of people don’t actually know that we’ve been around for so long. We were the school’s first ever varsity sport. It would be nice to come full circle and be adopted back into the athletics department.” Kreitzer said.