I have a couple bones to pick with the three main “A’s” of AU: the administration, AUTO, and the athletic department. I am a coach, a member, and an officer of the Club Gymnastics team here on campus. Many of you may not even know we have a team, for we have only been around for about three years. We are a young team, with most of the team being comprised of freshman and sophomores.
We receive no money from the school and function solely on fundraising and annual dues. With this being said, it is a huge accomplishment for us to compete each year. In fact, we are quite good. We have some extremely talented girls on our team. Last spring we had three girls compete at NAIGC (National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs) Nationals in Buffalo, with a freshman even qualifying to beam finals. This year we will have six girls representing AU at Nationals, which will be held out at Cal Berkeley.
My issue comes with AUTO’s asinine rule that the vans are not allowed to travel more than 50 miles outside of Washington DC. This is absurd. Fifty miles is nothing at all. For our schedule this year, that only allows us to attend one meet all season at UMD. One meet out of nearly 30 possibilities. That is absurd. AUTO is supposed to be there to benefit the students and organizations on campus. This bogus rule goes against the mission and purpose of AUTO.
My next concern comes with the administration and AU athletics in particular. The drama with the cutting of tennis and swimming aside, AU’s athletic programs get no respect from the school at all. We are pushed around and given no money and no opportunities for success and growth.
A majority of the athletes at AU are not varsity athletes, they are club sports athletes. Most of us train five or six days a week, and pay out of our own pockets to do so. We are not asking for much; the aid of the school in allowing us to compete (as in transportation to and from competitions), their recognition in our hard work, and a little more funding. AU complains repeatedly abut the lack of alumni support they receive.
This can be remedied quite easily, support us while we are here and we will support you when we leave. It is that simple.
Rachel Centariczki is a junior in the School of Public Affairs.