Sport Club Leadership — Do They Get the ‘Point’?

February 05, 2013

How a Point System Can Assist with Club Compliance

James Wayne, M.S.
Coordinator-Sport Clubs
Illinois State University

Do you have difficulty with Sport Clubs not attending meetings or submitting paperwork by established deadlines? Who doesn’t, right? Whether it is forgetfulness, busyness or complete disregard for the program; some groups just find a way to not get it done.

As part of our Sport Club program assessment and benchmarking project with state, peer and national institutions completed this past spring and summer 2012 at Illinois State University, two of the many new items we completed and implemented this fall were our:

– Points-Based Funding Model
– Compliance Program

The two processes work hand-in-hand to celebrate club successes and reward clubs for compliance with department expectations. We have tried to focus on the carrot…and not just the stick (which is still necessary sometimes)!

The points-based funding model was developed from a format utilized by the University of Central Florida (thank you Catherine Garland). Clubs earn points for submission of documents by established deadlines and attendance at meetings as outlined by our Sport Club Handbook and annual calendar, amongst other items. At the conclusion of the academic year, those “points” are converted to student-fee allocation dollars for the clubs. Two-thirds of our regular season funding budget is allocated based on the points their club has earned in the current year toward their upcoming academic year’s budget. It is a bit of delayed gratification at work, but it encourages our clubs to have strong, committed leadership each and every year. We utilize 10 total categories including club travel, registration, trainings, meetings and club sanctions in which clubs can earn points.
One change we made from UCF’s system was to identify an initial deadline to award full points (which UCF does), but also provide a secondary submission timeframe that allows the club to still earn partial points. The idea is to:

  1. Remind clubs about the initial deadlines and program expectations
  2. Follow up and directly contact those clubs that haven’t submitted with the secondary deadline and points still available to be earned

In this manner, we are providing leniency and continuing to positively encourage and “reward” clubs for submission of the necessary paperwork (even if up to one week late). There are some exceptions however: for travel paperwork within our program, it is still due by Tuesday at 2pm each week a club travels for an away competition.

The Illinois State University Sport Club Compliance Program is a comprehensive document that outlines items of accountability for clubs, including those directly overseen by our Community Rights and Responsibilities Office (CR&R). Our CR&R office handles an exorbitant amount of incidents, from safety concerns to misconduct to failing to comply. We placed significant focus in our Compliance Program on the Sport Club specific items by identifying categories of non-compliance with a plethora of examples in each grouping.

The most significant inclusion that has made an immediate impact for our program was a club’s Active/Inactive status. If Club’s aren’t current with paperwork and meetings as outlined, we move clubs to “inactive” status which includes freezing funding, suspension of facility space, and an inability to participate in practices and competitions. That has really been a valuable tool in our struggle with less active clubs to get them back in compliance.

The melding of these two systems together has seen a return on investment for our program. The clubs are rewarded for completing tasks we require of them, and if there is a mental lapse from a student leader, we are able to communicate with them to get their club back on track while still providing some reward. By establishing a second and final deadline for submission, we provide some compassion for that overwhelmed student while also establishing a firm deadline for a club before being moved to inactive status. While it is still an ever-evolving process and system, it has been a lifeboat in the world of sport club discipline for many of our organizations in an ever treacherous ocean of compliance.

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