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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

Club sports teams’ frustration grows over field use policies

Club sports teams are struggling to find a place to practice after the grassy practice field on Tenley campus became inaccessible due to construction this summer.

“After…our last official practice, we have no place to practice at AU,” said Adam Kohl, president of men’s soccer club. “We still have two more games after that.”

Men’s Ultimate Frisbee, Captain Zach Duey, said his team aims to practice eight hours a week but has only been scheduled for two hours a week this year.

Tenley Campus has been shut down during construction for the new law school, according to Shomari Kee, the assistant director of Intramural and Club Sports. Jacobs Field is currently the only space offered to club sports for practices since all other spaces are reserved for varsity sports, according to Kee.

When the field is available, teams are never alone and must share the space. According to Kee, sometimes as many as three teams practice simultaneously although only two can be officially scheduled at a time. This usually only happens when two scheduled teams agree to share with a third in advance.

However, there has been miscommunication in the scheduling process. Sometimes, a third team will show up unexpectedly, Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Captain Catherine Reeves said.

Another big problem facing teams is the turf on Jacobs Field. The flat surface is not a typical field for frisbee and soccer teams, meaning that practice experiences do not simulate actual gameplay.

“The playing surface is not ideal for anything but field hockey,” Duey said. “You pray to God you don’t fall and get burns or get scraped up.”

Kohl also mentioned that many soccer players have ankle injuries as a result of the turf.

Options other than Jacobs Field are limited. Each club sport is allowed to schedule one game a semester on the Massachusetts Avenue field, but may not practice there. The field is only partially owned by the University.

While both Frisbee teams try to use Ft. Reno park in Tenley to practice, the risk of being kicked off is high. The Public Park Service requires a permit from the city for sports teams to use the space.

“[The city] refused to give us permits to practice there,” Duey said. “They don’t want students practicing there.”

The University does not have any immediate options to add more field space. However, AU is in negotiations with Wilson High School to start sharing some of its athletic facilities, Kee said.

Kee was unable to comment on how the process was going.

However, space limitations are not a new problem for club sports at AU.

“We have been facing this for two, three, four years, really,” Kee said. “It’s the reality of being a club athlete on this campus.”

Duey, Kohl and Reeves said many club athletes feel undervalued because the University has not been able to find an alternative to the Tenley field.

“I don’t think club sports get enough attention for the amount of benefit they give to the school,” Reeves said.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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