Classifying Sport Clubs through Leadership, Education and Service

January 17, 2012

Eric Ascher
Competitive Sports Coordinator
Department of Recreational Sports
University of Florida

There are a many ways to classify Sport Clubs. Some programs organize clubs based on characteristics of that sport/activity itself with the following criteria as a guide:

  • level of risk
  • frequency of travel
  • presence of a coach
  • type of sport (team, individual/dual, martial arts, performance sport)
  • organization purpose (competitive, recreational, social, instructional)

About four years ago we decided to create a Classification System based on criteria related to merit or achievement. It would also serve as a means of providing an incentive to clubs in the budget allocation process.

After doing some research with other schools to see what kind of ideas were out there, but not finding exactly what we were looking for, we decided to align our Classification System with our tenets of Leadership, Education and Service. More specifically we wanted to be intentional about fostering an environment of learning, development and involvement for our students.

We created a three-level system — Orange, Blue and White (highest to lowest). In order to attain a particular level, clubs must satisfy varying quantities of the following criteria:

  • Community Service hours
  • Attendance at leadership seminars (educational sessions)
  • Fundraising a percentage of a club’s budget allocation
  • Number of fundraising activities
  • Attendance at other clubs’ events
  • Hosting events
  • Alumni connection/interaction

Our clubs have taken great pride in what they achieve — not only from a competitive standpoint — but also organizationally. While it seems only a few will admit it, there are clubs that “get” what we do and why we do it. They have come to realize that doing something positive as an organization not only feeds directly to a financial incentive, but also goes to the legacy and reputation by which clubs want to characterize themselves. Don’t get me wrong! We have our fair share of clubs that approach this as a chore rather than an opportunity or a challenge.

In order to motivate the clubs, we do have a financial incentive (or disincentive) attached to each level. Simply put, clubs that attain Orange level will receive a higher percentage of their requested budget than those that are in the Blue level and so on. This is probably the only imperfect component of our Classification System. Due to the fact that from year to year we don’t know which clubs or how many of them will attain each level, the formula has been a moving target for each of the last three years. In fact, two years ago, 30 clubs reached Orange level, which meant those clubs didn’t see as large an incentive as we would have liked to provide them.

The connection between Risk Management and a Classification System is that both establish a climate of accountability, oversight and a set of clearly outlined expectations which all contribute to the overall effective management of sport clubs. We hope that will translate to fewer overall problems as clubs will be more likely to follow other program-related procedures.

For further details on our Classification System feel free to contact me at

For more information on our Online Courses,
contact us now!