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A search for funding for County College’s netball team has grown into a contentious issue over two terms with the team captain and the JCR president both commenting extensively.
Team captain Lauren Tanner, said that there has been unfair favouring of the college’s football team over the netball team and that despite attempts to find funding for them the netball team are being overlooked.
County JCR president Jemma Gaskell has spoken openly about the JCR funding. Any allegation that there has been a lesser attempt to provide for one team while another has been pandered to was flatly denied by Gaskell.
Furthermore, Gaskell mentioned that she was concerned “as I have tried very hard to
explain the current situation to the Netball team and not received any response from them”, later indicating that as such she was worried what had been alleged may have been hearsay and incorrect. Gaskell reasoned that “if this article is printed then an accurate version of it needs to be told”.
Tanner’s version of events differs slightly from her JCR president’s. “Basically, at the start of the year I was under the impression that no funding was available for inter college teams.” She asserts that the main contention is the difference in treatment of teams playing different sports for the same college. “I am quite good friends with a number of players for County FC and I soon found out they had received a sum at the start of the year.”
Gaskell holds that at present there is equal and ample opportunity and funding available to societies through a democratic process she brought in once elected. She “decided to look into alternative forms of funding for all the college teams. I invited all the captains together to have a meeting to discuss forms of sponsorship for next year and make a decision as to where we would go from here.”
Looking into the immediate future, more money has been made available due to discussions with a business popular with several societies and clubs on campus. “Since then a deal has been sorted with Revolution to sponsor all the college teams starting in the next academic year.
“I went to the sports rep [Tania Nadarahjah] who then passed the funding issue onto Jemma our president, who looked into sorting something for us,” said Tanner. Here both accounts tie together: “She contacted our dean who refused the funding but said she would sort something.”
But Tanner highlighted that “this was in term two and I was only contacted last week to say that we weren’t going to get anything towards our court hire fees, which I felt was really late considering I asked for funding about ten weeks previous. I have since seen the County dean who is looking to sort something and really did seem helpful.”
Realising that there still needed to be a proactive attempt to find a solution to the current funding issues, Gaskell says that she and the rest of the JCR exec then embarked upon a different avenue approaching the fines fund of the college, controlled by County’s SCR.
The process culminated “in a very heated meeting with the SCR [where] we were told that no money was available and that the college teams needed to look into alternative forms of income like fund raising.”
In the interest of clarity, Gaskell “let the Netball team know this and said I would continue to look for funding. I asked the SCR again a few weeks later to which I was told there was still no money.”
Gaskell gave the reasoning behind any confusion over the process of allocating funding to the teams representing each college. While each college has a certain amount of autonomy in this regard, there is no rule encompassing all colleges to dictate a process of funding allocation. “Previously, JCR Execs had not specified amounts of money to go to
individual sports teams. As far as I can gather from looking at past accounts the football team has been given one off payments to cover their costs for training at the beginning of two separate years”, she said. However, Gaskell was keen to clarify that “this is not something set in stone, it just so happens that it has been done twice by previous execs”.
Tanner wished to indicate that it was a matter of principle rather than a purely monetary issue. “The lack of funding isn’t what I have a problem with, the girls in the squad will pay subs to cover the fees. I just find it frustrating that one team receives funding and another doesn’t. It should be an equal amount throughout inter college sport or it should be based on performance in the league.”
Gaskell wanted to counter Tanner’s initial claim of unfair favouring. “Since the new JCR has come into office no money has been given to County Football Club and it is the policy of the JCR to match any money given to one team to all of the teams. This, so long as I am president, will be the case.”
Tanner allowed that “Jemma as far as I know did her best. The money released to the football team was under another JCR president and she since tried to amend our lack of funding but I still feel that it’s her responsibility.”
The extent to which the County team feel overlooked is summarised in context of the rest of the colleges on campus. “Every other netball team in the league has had funding and we haven’t had a penny and bought our own kits. As for the sports rep, her role in this seems to be minimal.”