£597 and counting. I am not referring to the latest Paul Spencer quote for rent in Lenton, I am talking about how much a student is expected to pay to be a part of a University sports team at Nottingham. As a second year, I decided to join Nottingham University Hockey Club and although I have not regretted my decision, my bank balance has not enjoyed it quite so much.
Initially, one has to pay a compulsory membership fee of £60 for NUHC; in addition one must purchase a university gym membership (minimum price: £65). Since the price of joining the gym is a fee that students in university sports clubs MUST pay, it seems like a large sum of money to expect every sportsman and woman to stump up.
Moreover buying kit is normally in the region of around £65 plus and, in the case of hockey, match fees, BUCS gear and club tie all comprise additional expenses. Add to this the almost obligatory spending on alcohol every Wednesday, lest one miss out on the crucial weekly socials, and it becomes clear that university sport at Nottingham is extremely expensive.
My issue is perhaps less with the University of Nottingham than with the price of playing university sport across the country – as this appears to be a nationwide epidemic. To use one example, the price of a gym membership at Bristol University is in excess of £100. My concern is that sport is perhaps the single most popular extra curricular activity across British universities but also the most expensive. To pursue a passion in theatre, dance or music at university costs a fraction of the price and the financial burden of university inevitably compromises the experience of university sport for thousands of students nationwide.
In an age when increasing numbers of youngsters prefer to play video games rather than sport, surely British universities should be doing all they can to encourage promising and enthusiastic sportsmen to pursue their chosen sports. Currently, it appears they are doing the opposite through the continuing financial burden.
On the back of last week’s healthy living week, my message is clear: get all students active and out and about. Lower the price of university sport.
Max McLaren and Charlie Eccleshare