If every cloud has a silver lining then news coming from York Sport this week is a shiny sliver around the huge, black weather system that is the tuition fees increase.
We are yet to find out how much the University plans to raise fees to but we have learned that they have plans to re-invest extra funds into some non-core aspects of the student experience.
Ideas are currently under review that could see the introduction of free printing credits, free course books, laptops and the wholesale digitisation of key texts.
These measures are undoubtedly a step in the right direction but there is one other proposal that is heartening and could affect huge change.
Although it isn’t yet concrete York Sport President Sam Asfahani claims to be “very confident” that in the next two years the current system that includes a £40 membership fee will be eradicated.
If the plan comes to fruition then it will represent a leap forward for sport at this University. It will be the single most effective measure to drastically improve participation at every level from BUCS teams to a knock-up with mates.
It is small solace for students who will have to pay greatly increased fees but at least it’s a crumb of comfort that gives the sense that people are getting more for their money.
It will be a welcome saving for many sportsmen. For instance students featured in Nouse this week from the Pool and Snooker club are expected to part with a large sum of money for York Sport membership despite using none of the University facilities. Instead they pay to practise off campus.
In essence the move brings University sport in from the cold, but perhaps the plans also crystalise the indifference with which sport has been treated by Heslington Hall. The scheme should be embraced but we should also remember that the powers that be have had their hands forced by HEFCE.
Austerity cuts are deep and widespread but, regardless, the attention paid to such an important part of life at York has been a long time coming. Hopefully the current attention being lavished on York Sport will come through and extend beyond the time when that attention is enforced.