Ultimate Frisbee Suffers from Lack of Funding
Tight USG budget leaves players paying out of pocket
Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that colleges all over America have fallen in love with, and Hunter is no exception. The Hunter Hoplites will be entering their third season this year. Last year, the team played its toughest schedule yet, traveling across the northeast to compete. But the toughest match that the Hoplites have faced so far has been the match against Hunter’s USG.The Hoplites’ founder, coach and captain senior Ernest “Cliff” Pysher, explained their long battle for funding from USG. The Hoplites started out in fall of 2010, and applied for funding as a club. The budget afforded to the team was fairly low, but this was expected due to the team’s small start as a club. After having trouble withdrawing the afforded money, the team was forced to pay for the expenses out of their pockets. Pysher was lucky enough to secure a grant from the USAU—USA Ultimate, the nation’s governing body for Ultimate Frisbee—but even with the extra money, the funds were still not enough to accommodate the team’s budget. “I feel that it’s unfair to my players,” Pysher said. “As a founder of a club, someone trying to get something in motion, it has been an uphill struggle the entire way and it has been frustrating at every turn. I feel the mass of bureaucracy working against us.”
Sophomore Helena Mapoy, a manager of the Hoplites who deals with the team’s budget, echoed Pysher’s sentiment. “The amount of money we got from the USG allocation is probably just enough to pay off two of the five tournaments that we planned for,” she explained. “We also factor in jerseys, frisbees, and equipment.”
A major concern for the team is the cost of tournaments. The team must compete in these events to qualify for USUA sanctioned sectionals tournaments against teams like NYU and Columbia. Between tournament fees, equipment, travel and hotel, Pysher estimated that a tournament costs the team approximately $600. These costs prevent some of the team’s members from attending the tournaments, which ultimately affects the team’s ability to play to their full potential and qualify for and compete in larger tournaments.
“We can’t fully enjoy the season without a proper budget,” said Mapoy. “Tournaments are fun when the whole team is having fun, but they can’t really be into it if they have all these money problems hanging over them.”The players themselves have felt the pains of the budget as well. Emmanuel Aprilakis, a sophomore at Hunter, has been on the team for two seasons and has grown tired of out-of-pocket expenses hurting the team. “It’s $50 per tournament, $60 for uniforms, $50 for membership.
It’s basically a series of $50 charges that add up to almost $400 per person,” said Aprilakis. Though $50 charged once may be affordable, the series of charges leads to a real strain on the players who can’t afford it. “We didn’t have the depth to be competitive, and it really brought the team’s morale down,” he said.