Beginning this semester, the Student Activities Funding Committee—responsible for allocating the budget to support more than 500 student organizations on campus—moved funding decisions for team sports to the Cornell Club Athletic Council with a reduced spending cap, complicating funding for equipment, uniforms and other essentials for the sports team.
The CSC announced this change in July so that the respective funding board would fund organizations within their scope and chief commissioners, who are more knowledgeable in their field, could review the budget.
The CSC has also said in the past that the clubs have not spent their full allocated funding. So the CSC said lowering the cap could promote funding flexibility and avoid some clubs hoarding funds that went unused. However, the CSC changes have hindered the ability of teams to replace equipment, pay for training grounds and hold or attend matches.
This has become a problem for Cornell women’s soccer captain Bella Solomon ’24, whose team needs to replace its equipment.
“Usually, we get a few new balls every year because usually between each year, some of them fall flat or some of them you can’t use anymore,” said Solomon, the Cornell women’s soccer captain. But this year, we didn’t replace any of them just because our budget is so tight.”
In addition to the lack of sports equipment, Solomon also mentioned that the team could not afford jerseys for new team members, affecting the uniformity of the players.
“We have to get [new team members] shorts and socks and normally we have enough money to cover it from the team funding. But this year, unfortunately we had to make them pay for it out of pocket just because we don’t have the money to be able to cover them with these shorts and socks,” Solomon said. “One of the girls has to wear a really old jersey that doesn’t match the other jerseys. We don’t all have the same looking jerseys, which is a bit disappointing, but we just can’t replace them.”
For men’s soccer, budget cuts have led them to find regular, full-size fields on campus to play on instead of paying for off-campus fields. However, given that the fields are also used by Physical Education departments or other intramural sports, it would be difficult for team sports to acquire the space.
“There are really limited resources on campus for club teams,” said Sebastian Barquin Sanchez ’22, president of Cornell Mundial FC men’s soccer.
Jeffrey Shen ’23 of the Cornell Santos Soccer Club, noted that although the university has built a new turf field on North Campus, which is convenient for the soccer teams, they are still competing with other teams for space.
“It’s a little more convenient that they built the stadium, so everyone doesn’t have to drive. But there are three club teams, and there is PE football. It’s literally like a battle for space,” Shen said. “We have [it] booked for wednesday and thursday now. But PE football doesn’t finish until six. So we can only do it from six to eight, and by eight o’clock it’s already dark.”
Facing the problems, club officials are looking for different ways to compensate for the budget cut, hoping to keep their clubs running normally. Groups like Solomon’s have had to shift to collecting contributions for group members and planning more fundraising events.
“We always use all the money available to our team and then we usually have a fundraiser at the end of the season to fund our trip to Nationals [if we qualify]Solomon said. “However, this year we should have a lot of fundraising before the season ends and hopefully it will be enough to cover the rest of our expenses this half term.”
Sanchez also stressed the need to look to external connections to financially support the team.
“I just appointed a new head of external funding to the team, because we need someone to reach out to the alumni network and we need someone to run things for Cornell Day of Giving,” Sanchez said. And, it is possible that we will have to go back to ask the players for the money.