University Plan Huge Hike in Fees for Sports Teams

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The university has proposed a new system for Sports and Wellbeing membership. The new system could significantly increase the cost of being part of a sports team. 

The university proposes an on peak and off peak type membership where off-peak will remain at the current price and on peak (4-8pm) will increase. All AU players will have to pay a £230 annual membership fee for the top tier ‘peak performer’; since they use the facilities more, they will have to pay more, regardless of whether they are active during the peak period or not. An additional pay as you go membership will also be included.

Whilst intramural sports players will not be required to pay a membership fee, they will pay a facilities charge based on the existing AU cost.

The reason for the new proposal comes from two years previous when the former VP Sports enquired into a system where people who just use specific facilities pay only for those facilities. The proposal was initially planned to be put into action before July this year but, has now been delayed until 2017. Due to the concerns raised by the union, this may be delayed further.

Credit: James Moseley

In light of the fact that members of sports teams already pay huge amounts, not just for Sports and Wellbeing, but for society membership and kit, current VP Sports, Tom Provan, passionately opposes the plans to change the system and is working with the university to find an alternative proposal for sports teams.

Teams such as Southampton’s Cheerleading competition squad, the Vixens, must pay £80 this year to take part. On top of that, the mandatory kit for one squad costs roughly £200 each – not including optional kit.

Tom emphasises that the new proposal is inconsistent. He says that it does not promote maximum participation in sport and tries to price out people of being able to access facilities when they can. Other implications of the proposal include a possible decrease in all good side effects of playing a sport such as improving physical and mental health.

In comparison to other universities, The University of Southampton is the highest university in the BUCS league that does not have a university sports department – all sporting activities are run by the union. The Southampton system of payment also differs to other universities. Bath students don’t have to pay for the facilities they use, whilst Surrey students pay only £100 for Surrey Sports Park, which is less than the £155 yearly fee students must pay to be members of Sports and Wellbeing at Southampton.

Tom Provan is now in negotiations with the university in order to change this. Tom is looking into the possibility of a facilities pass in order to partially solve the issue although the off peak, on peak part of the system will be the hardest part to change.

Tom said:

“I am likely to be able to change things for the better. Whatever proposal I will put the the university will have every single student considered. This is the biggest opportunity we will ever have to change sport within the university and to create this new deal for sports men and women.”

In order to succeed, Tom needs support from the students. Contact him at vpsports@unionsouthampton.org.

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Wessex Scene Editor 2016-17 and Features Editor 2015-2016. History Student, Blog writer (http://emeraldalice.blogspot.co.uk/) and traveller. Student Brand Ambassador for the i Paper 2015-2016. Tea lover, cat enthusiast. @Alicetotheskies

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