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).