Athletes seek solution for Sports Club Programs

For many of the athletes and supervisors of Sonoma State sports clubs, there is quite a large transition in motion. On July 1, the Center for Student Leadership, Involvement & Service (CSLIS) will become responsible for all campus sports clubs. Students, staff and other Sonoma State community members in attendance of the Associated Students meeting on Friday discussed changing the supervision of all sports clubs from Campus Recreation Sports Club program to CSLIS offices. 

“The goal in moving the sport club programs to CSLIS is to place all clubs and organizations under one roof for continuity in the oversight of risk management, campus policy and advising,” said Director of CSLIS Heather Howard Martin. “CSLIS has always been responsible for the charter of all clubs, including sport; this just keeps everything in-house and provides for a higher level in the continuity of our services.”

For many Sonoma State athletes, this transition over to CSLIS offices is not welcomed. Some members of the sports clubs are against the change because this transition will result in losing the advising of Mike Dominguez, current supervisor of the Sports Club Program. 

Not only has Dominguez been the supervisor of all club sports for more than nine years, but he also caters to the needs of student athletes.  

Many of the athletes present at the meeting on Friday had one main goal: to keep Dominguez in charge of all sports clubs. 

As athletes from a variety of different sports clubs began stating their complaints regarding the shift in supervision, it was clear the main concern was keeping all athletes involved in a club sport safe. Student athletes voiced their concerns regarding the lack of experience CSLIS has in managing sports clubs. 

“Mike has been a major asset to our team,” said Sonoma State Sapphires Dance Team Captain Sam Bosarge. “Any problem or issue we’ve had, he’s jumped to our aid. Not having him here to help us is doing an injustice to our team and all sports clubs.”  

As far as Dominguez no longer supervising all sports clubs, Martin said, “With the addition of two new professional staff in the CSLIS office, we look forward to being able to ideally provide a greater level of professional advising and support to our sport club areas, similarly to what we have done with fraternity/sorority life. We envision maintaining a close, professional relationship with our Campus Rec partners and will continue to collaborate where appropriate and in areas to best serve our students. We remain in the same division, making this very seamless.”

The CSLIS offices are responsible for many other clubs, all Greek life and campus leadership programs. After July 1, CSLIS will also be taking over 23 sports clubs consisting of more than 520 athletes.

For most student athletes, the main concern is that the knowledge CSLIS has about sports clubs will not compare to the expertise of Dominguez. A few athletes agree that CSLIS has primary expertise in regards to the social aspect of campus life and does not fully understand the safety precautions and active planning in running 23 sports clubs involves. 

“[Dominguez] basically knows our team’s ins and outs and knows the individualized attention we need,” said Captain of the Sonoma State Men’s Lacrosse team, Connor Khuenle. “We’ve developed a trust with him. We can go up to him and express our interests and concerns.”

During the meeting, all members of Associated Students were present and actively responding to the complaints of the athletes. 

“For the most part, most student organizations have social risk,” said Associated Students President Mac Hart. “As far as clubs in general, there is a dire need of advisors right now just because of specialized risks, health and safety.”

The meeting concluded with an agreement to meet again in the presence of Neil Markley, senior director for entrepreneurial activities, in order to discuss a possible solution to the issue regarding CSLIS taking over club sports. Many of the Associated Students senators had mixed opinions about the sports clubs being run by CSLIS and a solution to the problem could not be made at this time. 

The next Associated Students meeting will discuss a possible outcome for student athletes and CSLIS working together in fall 2014.