The Sport Club program at Illinois State is made up of 28 clubs and more than 700 student athletes. Students who participate in club sports have the unique opportunity to compete against other university clubs in events such as ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, equestrian and many more.
Coordinator of Sport Clubs, James Wayne, along with Graduate Assistant Steven Karasewski are responsible for providing program policies, procedures, training, support and recruitment opportunities for club leaders as well as supervisors.
One recruitment opportunity is the upcoming Sport Clubs Expo, which Wayne said is, “a mini Festival ISU with tables and information for students to find out more about the clubs they may be interested in.”
“It’s really good to have every club represented so the clubs can raise attendance at their informational meetings and, hopefully, gain members,” Karasewski said.
Other than the Expo, which will be held Wednesday on the Quad, there are several other events that Wayne and Karasewski are looking forward to on the Sport Club program’s calendar.
“The men’s and women’s ultimate frisbee teams are hosting their Stanley Cup competition in September, where teams from all over the region are competing,” Wayne said.
In addition, the ice hockey team, which finished third in its division last year, will be playing several home games at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Outside of individual club events, the Sport Clubs program as a whole will be debuting their “Clubs That Care” initiative in the spring, which will include two philanthropic events and a social event to help build a sense of community within the growing program.
New clubs are joining the program nearly every year and must go through a process of qualifications in order to become an official sport club. Clubs must be a registered student organization and be sports related or affiliated. In addition, clubs must compete extramurally, or against other university clubs, on campus and within the first 18 months. Finally, the club must have at least five members and must be affiliated with a national governing body. Once all of these qualifications are met a sport club is born.
“The newest club in the program, fencing, has seen a 100 percent increase in membership since its creation,” Wayne said.
Other sports that are new to the program are handball and fishing, both of which have been gaining popularity in recent years.
In addition to the newer sports, Karasewski has noticed an increase in popularity for the more alternative sports such as lacrosse and rugby.
“Lacrosse made the playoffs for the first time last season and, as a sport, is really building on campus and across the Midwest,” Karasewski said.
In addition to his training responsibilities, Karasewski is also in charge of the Sport Club program’s social media campaign. This includes Facebook and Twitter pages to help get the word out about the program.
“It’s only a few weeks old but so far it’s a great way to reach the students and we are strong believers that it will grow quickly,” Karasewski said.
Because of their long list of responsibilities, Wayne and Karasewski have little time for sports themselves. However, given the opportunity to join one of the many clubs in the program, both know exactly what they would choose.
“One of the more fun ones for me would be the ice hockey club because I can’t start or stop on skates … it would probably be more embarrassing than anything else,” Wayne said.
“I just finished four years of baseball as an undergrad and I would do anything to be able to play again, so that’s the club I would join,” Karasewski said.