For many people B.U.S.A. are four letters that are completely devoid of meaning. Alternatively some may recognise them as bearing some connection to sport; though what this amounts to they are unsure. The reality is that the British Universities Sports Association operates the largest sporting programme in Europe, with over 1.2 million students actively involved, comprising some 3,200 teams who participate in 503 leagues. Far more than this, it is internationally recognised as the exclusive body responsible for student sport in the United Kingdom, and as such selects and manages the teams for all international student sport competitions in which Team GB competes. It offers a path, through the leagues in which over 500 York students participate, to the international stage. Shelley Rudman who is Team GB’s first medal winner in the Winter Olympic Games that are currently taking place is one such athlete who, through BUSA, went from Bath University to representing Great Britain in the Winter Universiade (effectively the student winter Olympics) where she gained invaluable experience of international competition.
Having been elected by the other AU Presidents in Yorkshire to represent some 250,000+ sportsmen & women on the BUSA Executive Committee it has been my privilege to be involved in an organisation that has such a direct impact on so many students in the UK, and has such a vital role in helping to develop future Olympic champions.
But despite all this B.U.S.A. is still fundamentally bound by one guiding principle, ‘To make student sport better for students’. A desire to see this goal realised means that B.U.S.A. has recently undergone a strategic review which has now been adopted and will, over the next few years, totally change student sport in this country. The structure and governance systems have changed, to make B.U.S.A. more efficient, flexible, and responsive. The way that teams fit into leagues, and the way that points are won are changing, the partnerships that B.U.S.A. has with UK Sport, the British Olympic Association and others are being strengthened, and the organisation as a whole is solidifying its place as the key organisation in the student sport sector. What does this all mean? It means that there will hopefully be more leagues, more competitions, and more students involved in sport, greater TV coverage for student sport, more sponsorship for student sport, and more volunteers from student sport.
It is an exciting time for sport in this country, and this excitement will continue to grow the closer that the 2012 Olympics get, and B.U.S.A. will continue to grow with this. The organisations reputation is growing and it is because of all this that University sport will continue to advance.
By Nik Engineer