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College sport forum established to tackle failings

Image: York Sport Union

As a result of the College Sport Review undertaken earlier this academic year, as Nouse detailed in our 30 October edition, a new college sport forum focused on reform to the college sport system is in development. The forum is being spearheaded by York Sport Union President Zac Sheppard and Director of Colleges Rob Aitken, closely associated with Vanbrugh College, and is expected to come into effect early in the Summer term.

It is understood that the new forum will be made up of a number of senior figures from within each university college, YUSU and York Sport. The primary purpose of the new forum will be to investigate, discuss and solve the regular issues faced by teams and players when engaging in college sport at the university.

The forum will be the first regular meeting that brings together the university, YUSU, York Sport and colleges that will be exclusively focused on college sport and the improvement of the system in its current guise.

The most regular issues that were unearthed by the aforementioned College Sport Review were surrounding the irregularity of bookings, the cost of training facilities put onto captains and presidents, as well as an awareness of a gap in college-backed funding for certain colleges and their teams.

Currently, colleges on Heslington East Campus are at a disadvantage due to reduced membership numbers and difficulties in retaining players once they move out of university accommodation. Last year, Langwith College Cricket Club were unable to play a single fixture due to a lack of players, which has a distinct impact on those that wish to play Cricket at a college level, a lack of membership which is not exclusive to just less popular sports.

In greater detail, the forum’s primary aims once it is established will be surrounding the financing of college sport and how it impacts upon students involved in running clubs; problems with training provision; and the supporting and training of college captains with specific training on personal management skills. This will include training for spotting the signs of mental health problems within teammates and information about how to handle any such problems.

Zac Sheppard told Nouse that “College sport has been growing year on year and it’s great to see there is now more interest than ever to make improvements to the governance and structure.

“Off the back of our college sport review one of the key areas to improve was equity across colleges, and the need to give better support to college captains, especially with finances.”

In our previous story on the College Sport Review, we detailed that a captain from Alcuin Hockey Club was forced to spend up to £1000 from their own finances to book training space for their club and secure it."

Zac went on to say, “I really hope this group can bring a minimum standard that colleges and YUSU commit to for college sport that sits across all clubs. Ultimately we all want to make college sport better and I’m very hopeful that founding a group like this can help keep driving change forward.”

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