Quinnipiac and club sports are affiliated again

by Ross Lager

Photo by Shayla Colon

Photo by Shayla Colon

Club sports are officially affiliated with Quinnipiac University after many years of students pressing for this change -- and they are thrilled about the decision.

Sophomore Kaye Paddyfote, a member and coordinator for the women’s club lacrosse team, the Hamden Heroes, could not contain her excitement.

“I was in the Student Government Association (SGA) suite and I yelled really loud and jumped up and down,” she said. “I was so happy knowing that our school has heard us beg and plead for something and they finally approved of it.”  

Club sports initially lost affiliation with QU after the school was sued for violating Title IX. The case started in 2009 when the women’s volleyball team felt they were treated unfairly. The 2013 consent decree mentions the violations QU committed, including not providing equal opportunities and financial support to female athletes and teams.

Quinnipiac was forced to comply with the consent decree that said women’s athletic teams will receive the same attention and support the men’s teams receive. QU had to maintain the women’s sports fields and they could not eliminate the volleyball team or any other division one team.

Part D of the terms section in the consent decree reads, “If Quinnipiac sponsors or otherwise provides support to club sports teams during the term of this Consent Decree, it must allocate those opportunities on a gender equitable basis.”

Following this, Quinnipiac sponsored no club sports in 2013-14. Since then, it has been an uphill battle for students to reacquire affiliation between QU and club sports.

Students were tasked with figuring out the logistics on their own to continue playing. The students funded the teams, they found places to practice and provided transportation themselves, all while trying to be an organized team to compete in games. Paddyfote mentioned these constant issues.

“Some of the struggles with being unaffiliated was having nowhere to practice and relying on a few girls who had cars to take us to games,” she said.

President Judy Olian made the announcement on Tuesday, March 5, via twitter.

Many students, along with the SGA, have spent time and effort to bring back club sports. SGA vice president Luke Ahearn mentioned that this journey started in 2015 and really gained momentum in 2017 from the efforts of Brandon Vattima, who wrote the proposal for the return of club sports to QU.

“I followed up on his (Vattima’s) efforts and we were feeling very positive coming into this year,” he said. “President Olian is very much in support of this and so we were all excited for this.”

Ahearn noted that this process just started, so many of the details are still unknown. The applications for the teams have not been sent out yet.

Ahearn thinks the number of teams will be determined by how many women’s club teams apply because it must be equal. He explained that it is an important decision for which teams will become affiliated.

“By the end of March, every team should know if they are on campus or not,” he said. “It's not that we don’t want every team to be on campus, its that we have to abide by Title IX.”

This is major progress for club sports, especially for the Brave Hockey Club, New Blue Rugby and Sleeping Giants lacrosse team. The hockey club started in 2013, New Blue in 2005 and the lacrosse team in 2009 they have been playing for many years and are ready to play and practice on campus.

Paddyfote is hopeful that QU will provide the correct support and attention that club sports teams deserve.

“I think they should pay for buses for away games, and provide us with space on campus to practice and actually hold home games,” she said.

Ahearn spoke to the Quinnipiac Athletics Department briefly about the plan moving forward and he believes that it will provide “some financial support” and the players will have annual dues to pay.

According to Ahearn, administrators are meeting next week to further discuss how to handle this process before the applications go out for club teams to fill out.

The Associate Athletic Director of Intramurals, Mike Medina, confirmed that more information will soon be available for everyone.

“All information pertaining to the new Club Sports Initiative will be distributed to the campus community in the coming weeks via social media platforms, including the application process,” he said.

Paddyfote can’t wait to start playing on a club team that is affiliated with the university.

“I'm looking forward to having matching uniforms with my team and an actual coach or a student-coach because we don't have one and I think that would polish our team,” she said.

Ahearn thinks that five or six club teams will be affiliated by next fall. Since he is also a member of New Blue Rugby, he has high hopes that the team will be playing their games on the QU pitch.

“Next fall, we’d like to see New Blue Rugby play the inaugural club sport game, I would like to see that be the path we take,” he said.