• Wed. May 11th, 2022

Absent athletics

ByMary M. Ward

Feb 12, 2022

Photography by Nithil Harris Manimaran and Olaf Hichwa

CrossFit RSG athlete Stephanie Coco performs a clean and jerk as part of the WOD on December 11, 2021.

CrossFit RSG members team up and begin Workout of the Day (WOD) with rowing machines on December 11, 2021.

Jthere are so many ways to get involved in college sports, such as varsity, club, and intramural teams. RIT has 22 varsity-level men’s and women’s teams, as well as a handful of other club sports. On the other hand, while there are a wide variety of sports and athletic activities represented at RIT, many popular activities are not even offered as wellness classes. There are many ways to get involved in college sports, such as as varsity, club, and intramural teams. RIT has 22 varsity-level men’s and women’s teams, as well as a handful of other club sports. On the other hand, while there are a wide variety of sports and athletic activities represented at RIT, there are many popular activities that aren’t even offered as wellness classes.

Collegiate versus Club

Club sports are a great way to get involved without having to play at the super competitive level that college teams play with strict practice schedules. For most college sports, there is a club equivalent; like having both volleyball clubs in addition to having a varsity-level team. But what about club sports that don’t have a varsity team? Since field hockey is a female-dominated sport, most colleges only have women’s varsity teams.

RIT, however, has a co-ed club team that anyone can join. Kevin LeBlevec — professor in the French department at RIT and specialist in technology for modern languages ​​— coaches the RIT club’s field hockey team.

“It’s a lot more social, so you can’t expect that much from them,” LeBlevec said, “It’s fun and friendly and practices only happen once or twice a week, depending on the land availability.”

“It’s a lot more social, so you can’t ask that much of them… It’s fun and friendly and training only takes place once or twice a week, depending on pitch availability.”

LeBlevec talked about having practices an hour or less because the university would need that space for additional practices — leaving them to look for alternate spaces or schedule additional practices. Although club sports teams play competitively with other schools, the university has priority over these spaces, regardless of the club team’s schedule.

“E-board did a really good job of planning extra workouts, so we were able to make things work. [But] it’s hard to get a successful program when time is limited,” said LeBlevec.

Another difference between club and university is the fact that the team is mainly run by a board of directors. The coach—at least in RIT’s case—is the club’s advisor; they are mainly there to help guide and organize practices.

“I advise but I don’t make decisions,” LeBlevec said.

Although the RIT club field hockey team won three state championships during LeBlevec’s time here, it’s unlikely there will be a varsity team due to NCAA regulations.

However, some students seem to prefer club sports because of the flexibility of the practices and the social but competitive aspect. For example, according to LeBlevec, some students even come from ice hockey teams to stay engaged in the sport during the offseason.

CrossFit: where is it?

Although some sports and athletic activities are offered as a club, varsity team, or wellness classes, some are not available at all. CrossFit, for example, is a popular style of high-intensity interval training that incorporates bodyweight movement through calisthenics, weightlifting, and other various cardio exercises.

Joshua Johnson, general manager of the Rochester Sports Garden, and Sarah Johnson, a CrossFit trainer, has helped train and teach CrossFit for the past five years. Although the Rochester Sports Garden has been around since 1955, “CrossFit” was only added a few years ago.

“To be a CrossFit gym, you have to pay an affiliate fee with CrossFit,” Mosley said. “There are many gyms that do very similar to what we do, they just can’t call it CrossFit because they don’t pay Name.”

“There are many gyms that do very similar to what we do, they just can’t call it CrossFit because they’re not paying for the name.”

Additionally, the affiliate process consists of an application with a trial and an annual cost of $3,000 just to use the name. Therefore, for colleges to offer CrossFit as a club or class, an annual membership fee would have to be paid; most likely one of the reasons why RIT may not offer the program.

Additionally, controversy over the safety of CrossFit could be another major factor in the lack of CrossFit programs in colleges.

“Some schools might not have it because of the bad reputation,” Mosley said. “It’s associated with people doing stupid things like lifting heavy weights as fast as possible.”

Therefore, RIT, among other colleges, may be reluctant due to the extensive application process. Not to mention expensive affiliate fees and the aforementioned security issues.

Vanished Triath

On the other hand, the Triathlon Club was formerly present at the RIT, but is now combined with the Running Club as Running and Multisport Club; presumably combining two similar clubs for more members.

RIT alumnus and triathlete Laura Beth Lincoln spoke about the sport and why there can be a lack of interest among students.

“It’s a fairly new sport… 2000 was its first appearance at the Olympics,” Lincoln began. “If you think about how old someone is when they see this, it may have passed the Olympic pipeline entry age.”

Essentially, with the recent addition of triathlons to the Olympics, many students may not have been exposed to them at a young enough age to express greater interest; although this has increased over the past two years.

Also, another difficulty of having a collegiate team would be the availability of equipment, such as bicycles.

“The biggest hurdle is the bike,” Lincoln said.

Absent athletics

In addition to Crossfit and Triathlons, there are many other sports activities that RIT does not offer; popular: football, squash, rifle/pistol, water polo and synchronized swimming. In addition to club sports, they do not offer college level activities such as gymnastics, golf, archery, and rugby. Absence from some club sports may be due to lack of interest/participation or lack of resources and facilities, while some club sports may not meet NCAA requirements.

However, that does not mean that these sports will never be present on campus. To create a club team, students only need 10 members and one faculty member. Students have the power to create the team of their choice.

Either way, the representation of these sports would provide students with another opportunity to socialize with like-minded people and get involved in physical activity to help ease the stress of college.