By Jessie Tobin
If you’re a student looking for a way to stay active, competitive, and meet new people, you might want to take a look into club sports here The University of Tampa. Club teams on campus have started back up and there are various amounts of teams to look into. While students on campus return to practicing with their teams once again, of course there has been some alterations due to the current COVID- 19 pandemic.
“Club sports have made some significant adjustments to be proactive about COVID-19,” said Josh McElwee, senior student coordinar for club sports, and captain of the Roller Hockey team. “Since we are aligned with athletics in a lot of ways, we have postponed all competitions until the spring semester and are only allowing practices.”
McElwee explained that each club that chose to proceed with practices this semester are required to submit a “Return To Play” plan which outlined the precautionary measures each member of the club would be taking to protect themselves and others from transmitting the virus. Once approved by Campus Recreation and other UT administrators, supervisors are informed of each club’s plan and mandated to enforce the precautionary measures they outlined at their practices.
“A majority of our clubs are currently practicing,” said McElww. “On campus clubs include the men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, volleyball, and tennis while many of our off campus clubs continue to practice and prepare for the (hopeful) rebound of the Spring semester.”
UT club sports do face the challenge of being at a smaller university with fewer students, so if you are someone who loved to play sports and compete but decided not to play at a collegiate level, UT club may be the program you’re looking for.
“It gives students who played these sports in high school or throughout their childhood the opportunity to continue to do so in a structured setting,” said Brinn Davis, senior and fellow founder of the UT club swim team. “I receive many emails of both prospective and current students wishing to join our team because they had swam their entire life and wanted to continue to do so in college, but in a low stress environment. I believe that the club sports program offers an environment for students to continue their passion for sports, as well as creating a place for students to meet and connect with others who have the same interests.”
“Club sports programs are a great way for UT students to diversify themselves,” said Ethan Myers, a junior on the club golf team. “Having these organizations allow us to continue our passion for sports within a fun and competitive environment. Not everyone can be a varsity athlete, but these clubs allow us to remain well-rounded individuals.”
Unfortunately most club’s tryouts have passed because they occurred within a week or two upon practices being approved by the school. However, McElwee suggested that students could still reach out to club president’s or officers to see if they will hold a late tryout.
“When we have new people come try out, we keep it basic and just see what they can do and what kind of shape they are in along with where they are with their weight,” said Alexander Greco, senior and president of the club wrestling team. Currently the wrestling club is not practicing this semester due to their season being cancelled.
Over his time at UT, McElwee and his fellow club sports council saw UT club sports increase from 10 club sports to 21. Many clubs have been invited or qualified for national championships before and many are hoping to travel and compete for national titles down the road when they can begin to compete again.
For now, club teams will continue to ease back into training while looking ahead to hopefully competing next semester. For more information about club teams and contact, visit https://www.ut.edu/campus-life/recreation/club-sports.