Associated Students Inc. Vice President of Finance Cam Patterson took heat during the student government’s Feb. 28 meeting for pushing to alter funding for club sports on campus.
Omar Benavides, president of the men’s wrestling club, showed up to the Wednesday meeting to appeal the denial of his sport club’s sponsored activity grant application. According to Patterson, the activity grant budget was reaching a limit.
Benavides argued against limiting the ASI-sponsored grants – specifically restrictions to ASI travel grants. The senate-approved changes to the grant approval procedures were proposed by the ASI Finance Committee. Patterson at the last ASI meeting, argued that club sports don’t attract as many students.
“Club sports, as a whole, has already been impacted greatly by other cuts,” Benavides said.
He said that in the past, restrictions in funding have resulted in members of the wrestling club opting out of national competitions, like in Texas, due to travel costs.
“I know for ourselves in the men’s wrestling club, we went from a $10,000 grant to about $3,000,” Benavides said. “We are going to nationals in a week. We’re going to have to pay everything out of pocket for the first time ever, which has been detrimental to our popularity among the active members wanting to compete.”
Benavides said a new rule by the university’s administration, which requires all club sports to obtain an ASI bank account, was another challenge the wrestling club faced this semester. Claiming that delayed access to funds resulted in out-of-pocket expenses, Benavides hoped to reimburse those expenses with a sponsored activity grant, but the club’s application was recently denied.
Moriah Halteman, president of the women’s rugby club, also spoke out against the proposed grant limit for club sports.
“We have over 50 active members, not 12 to 15,” Halteman said, addressing a comment by Patterson, previously reported in The Collegian.
“We affect many, many girls on this campus,” Halteman said. “We appreciate the funding we get, but still it’s not always enough.”
The women’s rugby team asks individual athletes to pay $200 in membership dues, and the club relies on sponsored activity grant funds to pay for other requirements such as referee fees, Halteman said.
“This would affect our athletes individually,” Halteman said. “We would have to ask them to pay more. Which, as [the wrestling team representative] mentioned, would make us less popular. We represent Fresno State, we want to keep representing Fresno State. But things like funding affect that.”
Patterson thanked members of club sports for attending the meeting and sharing their thoughts. Then he said that “the finance committee has rescinded our recommendation to limit allocation for club sports.”
“I really do appreciate your input and dedication towards your organization,” Patterson said.
Later in the meeting, the senate heard from the wrestling club, which was appealing the denial of its sponsored activity grant application. After minimal deliberation by senators, the club’s appeal was granted, and its application was approved.