Nigel Mayglothling, the University’s Assistant Director of Sport, has refused to respond to claims that the University’s decision to remove SB teams from BUCS competition will mean that rugby players from the satellite campus “will not be able to play for the University.”
Mayglothling told Impact that “it’s now appropriate we discuss the issues with SB reps that their players and others have raised” and refused to comment on claims from those within Sutton Bonington that they are being unfairly marginalised.
None of this will do much to dispel the suspicion, held by those at Sutton Bonington, that the University Sports department and Athletics Union have entered this consultation process with the outcome already decided. One meeting has already been held, in which the authorities explained their decision.
Leonora Gibson, a member of the Sutton Bonington women’s rugby team, told Impact that “It was clear that this meeting had pre-decided outcomes, and was only taking place so that the Athletic Union and Nigel can make the decision to remove our rugby teams, and claim that we had a chance to put across our view.”
Athletic Union Officer Jonny Bell issued a short statement defending the decision, claiming that “maintaining the current situation is not a solution”. Bell explained that to reach to the University’s stated objective of a position in the top five of the BUCS rankings, the campuses needed to “act as one”.
Mayglothling: “It’s now appropriate we discuss the issues with SB reps that their players and others have raised”
Essentially the argument of Bell and Mayglothling boils down to two points. Firstly, the SB rugby results are negatively affecting the University’s BUCS ranking. Secondly, the best players that are playing for the SB could be drafted over to the University Park teams to improve their squads.
However, those at Sutton Bonington argue that it is impractical for those at the satellite campus to travel to University Park for training and matches. “Even with the Hopper Bus service, getting to city campuses can take an hour – having to face that 2 or 3 times a week for training and games simply isn’t feasible” says Social Secretary Gemma Robinson.
As a result, Robinson contends that the decision will equate to the loss of “the spirit of SB campus…the sport will lose excellent players and a community will be lost on SB”.
This decision once again raises the question of the University’s attitude to sports. Earlier in the academic year a former NUBC President caused a storm by suggesting that AU funding should only be provided to teams competing in BUCS, although at the time Jonny Bell responded by stating “this goes against the Athletic Union’s ethos of ‘sport for all’”.
Nigel Mayglothling […] has openly admitted that he is not interested in students on Sutton Bonington participating in competitive sport
Members of Sutton Bonington rugby find little solace in these words. Tom Theobold, future vice-captain of SBRFC, told Impact “I feel really let down by the University as one of the reasons why I applied to Nottingham was because of their ‘competitive sport for all’ ethos. Furthermore I feel as if my campus (Sutton Bonington) is being more and more excluded”.
Maygothling has attracted particular criticism, with Theobold one of several players expressing their disappointment in his actions.
“I feel particularly let down by Nigel Mayglothling who has openly admitted that he is not interested in students on Sutton Bonington participating in competitive sport, simply because they do not contribute to his agenda of a Top 5 University team. He doesn’t understand that Nottingham is a research University and people have come here to get a degree and play competitive rugby for fun, not the other way around!”
Once again, the University finds itself defending its commitment to inclusive sporting practices. Further meetings are planned, but those at Sutton Bonington have little faith that the decision will be reversed.
You can sign the petition to keep Sutton Bonington rugby in BUCS here.