MU Sport Shifts Funding

Saturday, 28 March, 2015

Photography by MU Sport.

Melbourne University Sport (MU Sport) is set to implement a new funding model for its 40 sporting clubs. The new model will aim to create more transparent and equitable funding system, following the controversy in the fair fund distribution among the clubs.

Under the current system, sporting clubs are categorised into three categories: competitive, recreational or instructional. Competitive clubs are provided with large levels of support and ongoing funding used for coaching, management, off-campus hire, equipment purchases and other costs. In contrast, recreational and instructional clubs can only receive funding for new club initiatives.

As part of the new funding model, MU Sport hopes to address a “perception of a lack of equity and transparency in the current distribution of funds” shared by many clubs. According to the club funding data in 2014, 15 recreational and instructional clubs received only 1.9 per cent of the total funding for 40 sporting clubs, which clearly demonstrates that parts of this perception are real.

The key changes that are earmarked for the new funding model will provide additional funding to competitive clubs for recruitment, paid coaches, management support and pathway programs.

In contrast, recreational and instructional clubs will be eligible to receive funding for promotional activities, administrative assistance and purchase and management of equipment.

It is questionable how well the new funding model will address the funding inequalities faced by recreational and instructional clubs. MU Sport says the new model is designed to help pave the way for increased competitive performance within competitive clubs and increased participation within recreational and instructional clubs. Alongside the new model, MU Sport has announced a commitment to provide an additional $200,000 of funding to its sports clubs, bringing total sporting club funding available to $510,000.

Comparing UMSU clubs and societies with sporting clubs. UMSU provides $275,000 in clubs funding, most of which goes to grants to over 200 clubs and societies which have a combined membership of 13,000 unique students, compared to the 40 sports clubs which will now receive $510,000 with a combined membership of 7,000 members. Documents published on MU Sport’s website also estimate an additional $1,149,108 of in-kind support though venue hire is provided to sporting clubs.