This year, the UMD Sport Clubs Program has a new twist to their competition, and it has nothing to do with how fast, strong or skilled they are. A friendly contest for a cash reward at the end of the year is creating camaraderie among students who are sometimes at odds. UMD Sport Clubs Program coordinator Derek Donlevy created a new point system for the program that kicked in at the start of the semester. The club that earns the most points by the end of the year gets a $1,500 reward to go toward their club funding. The second runner up gets $500.
“This system works well for UMD because it is really improving the areas we need to work on in moving our program forward,” says Donlevy. “It encourages the clubs to get out and represent ourselves to both UMD and the community in a positive and engaging way.”
Donlevy came up with this point system model by exchanging ideas with the sports coordinator from Northern Colorado University at a sports club conference last June. The initial planning and implementing began in July and the clubs were then informed at the captains and presidents training Labor Day weekend.
The clubs can earn points by doing various community service activities, attending other clubs’ events, participating in UMD-related activities, and by getting positive attention from the media. Donlevy says the system has already has had noticeable successes.
“Derek is doing a great job at encouraging and following up with who is getting what points,” says Katie McBride, president of the UMD women’s rugby club. “He’s really excited for us, which makes us want to work harder.”
The clubs get one point for every community volunteering event they do as a team, with a six-point limit. They also get one point for every positive article or broadcast from any news publication, with a four-point limit. Depending upon how large the club is, they can get one or two points for attending another club’s event.
Currently, cycling and men’s rugby are tied for first, with women’s rugby at a close second.
To receive their points, clubs must physically prove their earnings to Donlevy: bringing in a signed sheet from the volunteer program, a copy of an article and signing in and out at other club’s events. At the end of each month, he posts the club standings on a bulletin board in the hallway near the RSOP desk.
Last year, Donlevy implemented a fine system for club sports where teams lost funds for not adhering to the club codes. That system placed a lot of focus on the negative aspects of club. Now with the positive counterpart of the point system, the teams are no longer constantly in angst over how they can lose funds, but instead eager about the ways they can gain points.
“It’s nice because it’s no longer just the UMD Sport Clubs Program taking from us; it’s a give-and-take relationship,” said Lars Anderson, president of the men’s rugby team. “There is now a healthy competition among the other clubs in the program, which is increasing support because the clubs are encouraged to go each other’s events.”
Because of the fine system, Donlevy was constantly getting calls, texts and emails last year from the clubs concerned about their loss of funds. When clubs didn’t attend mandatory meetings, turn in paperwork on time or travel correctly, they would be charged a small portion of the money they were given in the beginning of the year. This caused a lot of negative attitudes within the club program because there was no positive counterpart.
The fine system remains in place; however, since the point system, Donlevy said he has barely heard any complaints about the fines. Instead he has noticed an increase in community involvement, inner meshing of club support and participation in UMD activities, such as the homecoming parade and hazing prevention week.
“The participation in National Hazing Prevention Week was one of the most influential projects I’ve seen at UMD,” said McBride. “It was amazing to see all the sports clubs come together from different places for a good cause.”
All the clubs need funding for various reasons. The main uses of these funds are equipment, traveling and fees. If the clubs are able to meet those needs, recruitment and community recognition will increase, as well as positive student representation.
“Everyone in the club is getting pretty excited about the new system, especially since we are toward the top,” says Travis Pedley, president of the cycling club. “Now that it’s taking off, we are seeing more and more people offering ideas on how we can get involved.”