THE UNIVERSITY OF York has finished the academic year in 44th place in the overall BUCS points rankings with 836.5 points, marking a rise of two positions since last year despite a smaller points total.
However, this improvement still places York over 200 points short of the top 35 – a marker often cited as a target for York Sport.
The 2017/18 BUCS rankings league includes 150 universities and is headed by Loughborough University on a commanding 5787 points, with York finishing 4950.5 and 43 places behind. 2018 marks the second consecutive year in which York has seen a decrease in total points, but this has not prevented a two-place improvement.
However, the bleakest reality comes when a comparison is drawn with other Russell Group universities. The majority of this elite group of universities feature in the BUCS top 20, while York sits outside of the top 40.
Rather than top 20, breaking into the top 35 has been a target for successive York Sport Presidents. However, it has not been achieved since records began in 2006, with the closest attempt coming in 2015 (37th); it remains a pipedream for York.
This year York are a distant 226 points off the top 35 and a seismic 708 points off the top 20, where their Russell Group status would suggest they would be present. More worryingly, the gap between York and the top 35 has grown in recent years. In 2014 and 2015 it was less than 30 points, whereas for the last two years it has been over 200, suggesting that other universities are developing their sporting environment more successfully than York.
York Sport President Laura Carruthers highlighted the need for increased spending to boost York Sport’s BUCS ranking in the future: “This year’s placement is, numerically, an improvement on last year, so we should take pride in that. However, I am convinced that there is more work to be done on improving the performance sport offer here at York. Put simply, high performance sport costs. Only when we acquire a significant boost in funding will our rankings improve, placing us competitively against our academic rival institutions.”
The University of York Pool and Snooker club has continued the theme of being the biggest contributor to York’s point tally this year by providing 146 points; while badminton, table tennis, lacrosse and volleyball also rank among the highest point winners for York.
The hockey team not being allowed to play and therefore contributing no BUCS points has limited York’s potential achievements. Interestingly, if hockey returned 40 points this year as they did in 2017, then York would have been ranked 39th in 2018.
An independently-run consultation, process currently ongoing, will set targets for York Sport in its pursuit to climb the BUCS rankings. York Sport President-elect, Zac Sheppard, is confident that the recommendations from this process will help York bridge the gap to the top 35.
If the sporting programme at current 35th-ranked King’s College London is anything of a guide, then any pursuit of the top 35 will require a significant amount of funding.