Sport Clubs Travel — Keep it Simple

July 16, 2011

Greg Henderson
Assistant Director, Sport Clubs and Aquatics
The College of William and Mary

When I first started working with the William & Mary Sport Club program in August of 2000, there were policies in place for registering events and travel. There was at that time, however, no real incentive for clubs to fill out the paperwork and follow the policies. After meeting with each club and learning that several of them had not registered their events, it became clear that we didn’t always know who was competing – let alone traveling – on any given weekend. With this in mind, the Director of Rec Sports and I started to re-vamp our travel system with two distinct goals in mind: 1) revise existing policies where necessary to make them clear, fair, and easy-to-follow; 2) provide an incentive for the clubs to follow the policies.

We started our policy revision process by meeting individually with every club to receive feedback on our policies. We also worked closely with both our IT department and Risk Management office to ensure ease of delivery and college policy compliance. By way of this feedback, our travel policies have been developed intentionally over time in order to facilitate club organization and manage risk. They have also been successful based upon further feedback and assessment. At the heart of our policies are two core principles: 1) Make it simple; 2) Provide an incentive.

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Outdoor Recreation Programs: Contract Out or Keep in House?

July 14, 2011

Jim Fitzsimmons
Director of Campus Recreation
University of Nevada, Reno

With just over 20 years in the outdoors industry in both the private sector and college/university setting I have experienced both sides of this equation. The request to research this topic came at the same time my university was making a significant change concerning its outdoor recreation program. The two dovetailed nicely and while many readers may disagree with the findings and the eventual outcome, it is an example to learn from.

For the past decade, the program at UNR was ‘home-grown’ and operated exclusively in-house. Everything from instructors to equipment, permits and transportation was owned and operated by the program. We held commercial permits for rafting, kayaking and climbing. Class offerings included white water guide school, wilderness skills, sea and white water kayaking, rock climbing, mountaineering, nordic and alpine skiing, snow boarding, fly fishing, wilderness first aid, swift water rescue, rafting and level one avalanche certification. All instructors were certified though national organizations and we followed accepted industry standards for all programs. While all courses were offered both for credit and on a non-credit basis, the University did not offer a degree in the discipline of Outdoor Recreation or anything remotely related. Depending upon the semester and course offerings, participation swung between a peak of 1,200 students and a low of 300. In an average year, the program would offer field trips about 25 weekends per year. Read more

A Primer on Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage

July 14, 2011

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC

Does your organization use motor vehicles to transport athletes, spectators or others? If so, it is essential for risk management planning to make sure that such vehicles are fully insured in compliance with applicable law. It is a good idea to talk with your insurance agent or broker about the insurance policies that have been purchased in order to ensure that there is sufficient coverage. Policy exclusions should be scrutinized to determine if there will be coverage for the uses of the motor vehicles in question. You will also want to make sure that policy limits are high enough to cover your organization in the case of a catastrophic accident.
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Sport Club Travel

May 13, 2011

What do other schools do? What should we do?

Chuck Vogt
Director, Intramural and Club Sports
Bellarmine University

Ask any Campus Recreation professional this question: “What is the most dangerous part of club sports competition?” The answer will typically be: “The travel to and from the game site.” Many students participate in Sport Clubs throughout the country and this number seems to be increasing every year. Some schools also pay the coaches for their time, some pay from University funds while others leave it up to the clubs. This is also a pressing issue as clubs gain popularity and size. Good volunteers are harder and harder to come by.
Recently, I conducted some informal research by posing a few questions to the NIRSA Club Sports listserv. Several schools responded, and the feedback was very illuminating.
The questions asked were simple and straightforward:

  1. Do you require a coach/advisor to travel with your student groups/club sports when they leave campus?
  2. Do you allow students to travel independently of their coach advisor? If yes, what type of documentation do you keep?
  3. Are all of your advisors/coaches university personnel or individuals from outside the university?
  4. Are they paid? If yes, how much?

The following highlights the responses of some and small schools. Responses identified with specific schools are reported with permission, otherwise only the State of the school location is reported. Contact the author directly if you would like to see the results in their entirety.
Sport Clubs Travel Survey

The idea behind the informal research was not only to focus on travel, but also the administration of that travel. How do certain professionals handle certain situations? What are the best practices? While the responses to the questions can provide some guidance, at the end of the day, these are questions which can only be answered by you and appropriate university personnel.

Current Legal Practices in Collegiate Club Sport Programs

May 12, 2011

Steve Kampf
Recreational Sports
Bowling Green State University

Scott Haines
Recreational Services
The College at Brockport, SUNY

Robert C. Schneider
The Department of Physical Education and Sport
The College at Brockport, SUNY

William F. Stier Jr.
The Department of Physical Education and Sport
The College at Brockport, SUNY

Brady Gaskins
Office of Residential Life
Bowling Green State University
Legal liability practices within a college recreation program have long been an apprehension for the personnel who oversee programming. In particular, club sport activities have been a concern as to what the true legal liability benchmarks were in the field of college recreational sports. A review of current literature revealed a lack of benchmarking information relating to legal liability practices in collegiate club sport programs. Specifically, the information gained from this study provides programmatic direction in reviewing and proposing changes to policies and procedures relating to club sport safety.

A comprehensive research study was recently completed on the subject of legal liability that relates to club sports. Areas that were studied included the use of waivers, travel, coaching, first aid/CPR, and supervision. The following information serves as a reference point for those who oversee college club sport programs and could help in developing or reviewing policies and procedures.

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Trip Leader Meetings

April 28, 2011

Kathryn Hagen
Assistant Director for Sport Clubs
Campus Recreation Services
University of Maryland

Every Wednesday at 3pm, one member from each sport club with plans to travel that weekend gather in one of the conference rooms at the Recreation Center for a Trip Leader Meeting — a mandatory meeting for all clubs traveling. Sport Clubs members attending these Travel Meetings are known as “Trip Leaders”.

On “Travel Wednesdays” (so named because Wednesdays for the University of Maryland Sport Club staff are dedicated solely to traveling clubs), student trip leaders come together for a short meeting to focus on Campus Recreation Services travel policies and guidelines, as well as go over each club’s travel itinerary.

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