New at Bucks County Community College this semester are club sports; a unique combination of various sports with student organizations, giving students the opportunity to still take part in the sports they enjoy regardless of full-time or part-time status along with lesser financial obligations.
This new style of sports programs at Bucks keeps many sports that may have been difficult to take part in, whether that be for financial reasons or number of enrolled credits required, easier to access, ultimately eliminating some of the prior hurdles.
“The last in the world I want to not offer a sport,” said Matt Cipriano, the Director of the Student Life and Athletic Programs at Bucks,
“Previously, we were creating roadblocks for students in a way, essentially not giving them an option if they wanted to play a sport. A structural shift saved some sports by making them sustainable on a financial level and available to all students, part-time and full-time.”
Prior to the recent creation of club sports, something that was discussed over the course of the last few years, students had to be full-time, or be enrolled in 12 or more credits, if they wished to join one of the varsity sports programs at the school.
Now a part-time student, who’s at least enrolled in 6 credits, along with full-time students can join one of the club sports as long as they’re able to provide a sports physical.
Amongst these new club sports at Bucks there are women’s and men’s volleyball, women’s and men’s cross country, women’s and men’s tennis, men’s golf, an equestrian program, and dance team.
Cipriano also mentions an e-sport program starting up along with a possibility of a bowling and wrestling program starting up at some point down the road.
There are a multitude of factors that motivated the shift of various sports into a club format. Cipriano notes things like difficulties with recruiting and staffing issues, an abundance of varsity sports with few people running them and cost saving purposes as reasons the moves were made.
One of the most notable reasons, however, was there are slightly more students enrolled at Bucks who fall under the part-time label as opposed to full-time. With that there were many students who wanted to take part in sports programs but were essentially prohibited because the prior format, as mentioned already, required students to have full-time enrollment status.
Another question that often comes with club sports is if taking part will in any way impact students’ recruitment status by four-year universities they are considering transferring to. The answer to that would be no. Playing a club sport wouldn’t negatively affect a student hoping to be recruited by a four-year school.
“If you’re good, you’re good. Any solid athlete in our program will have the potential to be recruited,” Cipriano said regarding the question.
Hoping to get some momentum with various club sports following Covid, Cipriano encourages students to reach out and inquire about joining a club sport at the college.
“Club sports are the perfect way to get engaged at the college and compete without the heavy commitment of being a full-time student.”