Club athletes have earned the right to register early

I by no means consider myself equal to the NCAA athletes who grace USC fields and courts.

But even though club teams don’t have players on scholarship or a paid staff to give post-game massages, club athletes still deserve some of the perks student athletes receive at USC.

Specifically, I think it is absolutely necessary to give our club sports teams priority registration.

USC’s club hockey team, which I am a member of, participates in the PAC-8 league. It is essentially the same conference as the Pac-10, just without both Arizona teams. We are a Division II American Collegiate Hockey Association team, and since the first week of September we have practiced twice a week and played games most Friday and Saturday nights.

For the weekend games this season my team traveled to San Francisco, Oregon, and Washington (on two occasions). Like most club teams, we were required to fly to our games.

Club hockey is not the only team with such a chaotic schedule. Rather, all USC club sports organizations require an ample amount of time from their members.

Normally, this would not matter much. It becomes a problem, however, when club sport athletes have Friday morning classes they are forced to skip to make it to the field, court or rink.

If club athletes were able to register for classes alongside the NCAA athletes, club sports athletes could create a schedule that would have leave Fridays free for travel.

Instead, I ended up having to skip four Friday morning linguistics discussion sessions, and ultimately my grade in the class suffered, because I was unable to receive the same in-class knowledge as my fellow classmates.

Students shouldn’t have to skip classes to participate in their extracurricular activities. By allowing club athletes priority registration, we wouldn’t have to skip classes and fall behind on our work.

Often this season, by the time we arrived at the rink, we practiced for two hours and did not get off the ice until at least 1 a.m., which meant we didn’t return to campus until just before 2 a.m.

This is not news to other club sport athletes, who are used to returning to campus when many students are sound asleep.

If USC’s administration allowed club teams the ability to register for classes before the rest of the school, we would be able to make a schedule that allowed us to sleep in more and recuperate on Tuesday mornings as well.

As a highly-regarded institution, USC clearly prioritizes academic performance. Extracurricular activities and social development follow.

The members of our hockey team, and those of other club sports teams and organizations, understand our obligation to academics.

Nevertheless, we cannot simply sacrifice the activities we love when there is a way to stay active in them — while still performing in the classroom.

Although none of us will go on to play professionally or make a career out of the sport we love to play, we shouldn’t have to give it up because we aren’t able to attend class. Priority registration serves as a feasible solution.

I would like to play on USC’s team for the remaining years of my college career, but doubt I will be able to continue unless someone within the administration steps in and sees our team as deserving of priority registration.

Club sports teams bring together many student leaders, all of whom will go on to succeed in engineering, business and other major fields.

We tend to define ourselves by our major instead of the sport we play, and it would be a lot easier to function within both the academic and athletic spheres if club athletes were given priority registration during the scheduling season.


David Morris is a sophomore majoring in English (creative writing).

13 replies
  1. Academics first
    Academics first says:

    This is completely backwards. You should get to register first for classes because classes are less important to you than sports? People who care the most about their classes should be registering first for classes – not the “jocks”

    And it’s all a bit besides the point – why does it have to be a zero-sum situation where some lose and others win? Maybe you should spend your time working to make sure there are enough classes available so everyone can get the courses they want and then you won’t need to argue about who registers when.

  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    Why is sport more important than other activities? I know a lot of people who don’t give a damn about sport, but invest their time and energy in political, religious, or social activities.

    You sum up the problem fairly clearly when you say:
    “Although none of us will go on to play professionally or make a career out of the sport we love to play, we shouldn’t have to give it up because we aren’t able to attend class.”

    Basically, you don’t want to give up something you love in order to go to class. If everybody else has to,
    (whatever that may be – politics, drinking, even romance) why shouldn’t you?

    (As for NCAA athletes; they bring income to the school. They’re more of an financial asset than a student; that’s why they get privileges.)

  3. club sports alum
    club sports alum says:

    I played club sports in undergrad (rugby – we were ranked in the top 10 nationally – and hockey). I would have 3 hour practices 3x a week on top of ice time whenever it was available (luckily we had a rink at our rec center). I also worked part-time at the bookstore (FYI we had to get NCAA athlete’s books for them…. wth) oh and I was service chair for my chapter/organization.
    I admit, registration was tricky and going to tournaments required a lot of finessing with professors…
    All that being said – I had a chaotic schedule because I chose it.
    Sometimes I wish I would have been talented enough in a sport to get a full ride and not worry about a lot of things (e.g student loans). Then again, I had student athlete friends who felt as though the school owned them. They had to wear Nike everyday and put ID tags on their backpacks. They would have grueling work outs in the am and pm. They had to miss a lot of class, even if they didn’t want to and even if they knew that they wouldn’t “go pro” and this free education actually meant something….
    So I guess what I’m trying to say is – yeah, it sucks that club sports don’t have a lot of the same perks that NCAA sports do. But, you need to look at the trade offs…. Namely, freedom and choice.
    An alternative would be to transfer to a school with an NCAA hockey team.

        • Anonymous
          Anonymous says:

          It doesn’t go by the number of sports. It’s by proportion of funding. That’s why we already have more women’s sports and why they’re now adding women’s lacrosse, too. Football takes up all the male money.

          • ReggieBush
            ReggieBush says:

            Hey, don’t blame football for sucking up all the money for male sports. Sure, you had to pay me to play for SC, but you got your money’s worth.

            Get back to worshiping me.

  4. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    Most of us have things to do in our lives outside of classes. We prioritize how to use our time. Some people have to work. Maybe being able to work Friday morning could land that job. There are a multitude of other important activities in people’s lives that are worthy of their time. Hockey may be important to you, not so much to me. My point is that we all have choices to make re how we use our time and you wanting to play games and sleep in does not mean that you are more deserving of special treatment than anyone else on campus who may be inconvenienced by having to choose a less than ideal class time slot.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Boo hoo. You made up your mind: hockey over linguistics. And your grade suffered. What a tragedy. Had you taken more AP credits in high school, you probably could have registered earlier on your own merit. Or you could have taken some other class that didn’t meet on Fridays.

    Grow up.

  6. Tim
    Tim says:

    That makes absolutely no sense. By this writers logic all students involved in activities that require any travel or time commitments that force them to make a decision to miss class occasionally should have priority registration.
    “USC clearly prioritizes academic performance. Extracurricular activities and social development follow.” This statement is nonsense, academic performance is not furthered by students that choose to play club sports getting special treatment.
    I admire people that decide to put in the time to play club sports, but that does not qualify them for treatment above the rest of the student body. The rest of us make choices about what is worth our time and energy, if hockey is that important to you then play it and do your best to arrange your life around it. It is your choice to play and if that means you have to miss class you have to decide if it is worth it. I can understand not wanting to make the choice but because you want to play hockey and do well in school does not entitle you to special treatment. I am deeply involved in several academic and political causes that require that I occasionally miss class and are very time consuming. Most of these groups add far more to the campus community and reputation, yet we don’t think that it entitles us to special treatment. We’re talking about a freaking hockey team, in what world does a D2 hockey team do any GOOD.
    You need to learn to make choices, you’ll be doing it for the rest of your life. How selfish/oblivious are you?

  7. Adam
    Adam says:

    It’s unfortunate, but academics should come first if that’s the image USC is trying to promote. I’m not sure why football players get priority reg – I mean, they don’t actually care, anyway.

    • Mike
      Mike says:

      Adam, they get to register first because they need to have classes that can fit around their practices and what not. If they werent able to do this the football team would have to register for classes like everyone else and that would mean there would be no open time to have practices. The amount of time and energy that these D1 athletes put in also in my mind makes them deserve this privilege

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