Taking part in sport at university is a great way to get involved. However individuals are sometimes not be aware of the hidden costs when they’re partaking in taster sessions and becoming attached to specific sports.
The costs of sports at university can deter new students from undertaking any sport whatsoever. It is becoming imperative that changes must be made in order for sports to be more inclusive for people who are unable to afford it. The overall cost of joining the York Hornets cheerleaders can amount to over £200. This covers the costs of uniform, travel and competition fees.
The club often has to fundraise over the year in order to raise funds for their expensive competitions, whose entry costs can be as much as £9000. In comparison with select universities, York’s membership does seem expensive, but other universities often don’t include other fees in their yearly membership. For example, Lancaster University’s cheerleading membership fee is only £35. However, they were required to buy a gym membership for £99 in order to train. A student at Lancaster University stated that it was ‘ridiculous’ that they were required to purchase a gym membership in order to take part in cheerleading as they wished to take part in the sport but did not want a gym membership.
The University of Liverpool Foxes requires its members to purchase: general cheer membership, a membership per semester, competition costs and access to the sports hall in order to be a cheerleader. Including their uniform, this can amount to £314 (providing they only partake in one competition per year).
As such, it is understandable as to why students may not be inclined to take part in cheerleading, and although it is a lot of money at the University of York, it is substantially cheaper to take part than at other universities. More hidden costs can also be found in other sports clubs, as the University has something called Black Tier or Gold Tier Membership. In order to join certain sports clubs, it requires students purchase membership of the club (which is usually around £30), and purchase either Black or Gold Tier membership (Black Tier is £20 and Gold Tier is £10). Alongside these, participants may also be required to pay per session. Ben Lairig (Mountaineering) requires people to pay per weekend trip, where people may stay in tents or bunkhouses. Costs can be anything from £30 to £100 depending on where they go.
Furthermore, Rowing has a membership fee of £50 per semester. One Alcuin third year stated how he “almost quit rowing because of the fees as [he] was also under financial strain at the time”. This shows that if sports at York wish to continue to flourish, the issue of prices must be addressed.
However, not all sports are as expensive. There are many sports which don’t require these expensive membership fees. VX, for example, only requires £10 for membership for the entire year. College sports are entirely free at the point of entry, though involve added costs for kit, equipment, and travel as they recieve little to no funding from YUSU.
Additionally, the York Sports Union is continually attempting to decrease the costs of sports at University, partaking in RAG weeks in association with other charities in order to bring more money into the union to maintain excellent facilities and university teams.
York Sport Union President, Isaac Beevor, had this to say about the cost of sport at the University of York: “whilst I understand the cost of getting involved can be quite high for a number of sports, clubs usually try to keep this as low as possible. Often clubs at the start of the year will run open sessions, which gives people the opportunity to try out new sports and see whether they would like to become a full member.” Unfortunately, it is often the high costs that prevent people from becoming members after attending these open sessions. The cost of sports at universities must be assessed if they are to become accessible for all.