For the Love of Sports


Club sports gives students the opportunity to play competitively   Sports for the love of…

Georgia (Nov 10, 2011)

Club sports gives students the opportunity to play competitively
Sports for the love of sports. That’s how participants and administrators describe intercollegiate club sports, where there are no athletic scholarships, minimal university funding and little fanfare.

Billed as “for the students, by the students,” club sports are organized more like mini-corporations than traditional varsity teams. There are presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries and treasurers just to name a few of the roles athletes play off the field.

Club sports athletes organize their own practice and game schedules, raise money for uniforms and game officials, decide who plays and who doesn’t, schedule hotel and travel arrangements and manage the paperwork, including team budgets. During the 2009 ╨2010 season, KSU club teams traveled more than 45,000 miles during seven months of competition and collected more than $194,000 from dues, gate revenue, sponsorships, fundraising and special events.

“This isn’t just about the sporting experience as much as it is about the opportunity to learn skills that are transferable to the workplace and to build friendships,” collegiate club sports director Laura St. Onge said. “That they succeed is icing on the cake.”

And succeed they do.

In 2011, six club sports teams ╤competitive cheer, paintball, women’s rugby, fishing, softball and wrestling ╤attended national championship tournaments. The competitive cheer team is the two-time defending national champion, and in the last 16 months, the fishing team has raked in $40,000 in tournament winnings. Half of the fishing team’s prize money goes to the university to fund a scholarship for club sports athletes.

In addition, another six of the 25 club sports teams qualified for post-season regional play, including the baseball, swim, ultimate Frisbee, equestrian, men’s lacrosse and men’s roller hockey teams.

“These are talented athletes with great organizational abilities, who make sound financial decisions and play for the pure love of the game,” St. Onge said.

Samer Kaddah is president of the men’s soccer team. A former varsity soccer player at Georgia State University, Kaddah came to Kennesaw State following a knee injury.

“I was only going to come here for a semester while my knee healed, but I found club sports, fell in love with it and didn’t want to leave,” he said. “Club sports are a great opportunity to grow as a leader. You learn a lot of skills that can be used after college.”

With its focus on student development, club sports fall under the domain of the Division of Student Success.

“Club sports provide a learning and leadership experience in that students self-administer and self-regulate these sports, as well as create their own sporting experience under the guidance of club sports administrators,” Division of Student Success vice president Jerome Ratchford said. “The club sports program also serves individual interests, which contribute to a student’s comfort level at KSU and increase the prospect of successfully matriculating and graduating. The program also expand students’ overall educational experiences in that it teaches leadership skills, team work and the importance of physical fitness among other attributes.”

In 2007, there was only one non-regulation intramural field on campus, a 1.45-acre tract that was shared by HPS , intramurals, club sports and other students. Since 2009, the 88-acre Sports & Recreation Park has opened, including two regulation synthetic turf fields, a training/warm-up area and the Owls Nest, a 16,000-square-foot indoor training facility, all dedicated to club sports and intramurals.

Although sometimes confused with intramural sports, where participants play against other KSU teams, club sports compete against other universities and adhere to national governing body requirements. An important difference, said men’s soccer team president Kaddah, for those who played competitive sports growing up.

“We want everybody to know, club sports is very competitive,” the junior sports management major said. “Sometimes people don’t understand the difference between club sports and intramurals. Club sports is an opportunity to still play competitively for those that want to.”

Competitive cheer squad wins fourth national championship

Kennesaw State’s competitive cheer squad brought home another national championship ╤the fourth since 2004. The Owls defeated nine teams to win the All-Girl Division I championship at the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Association (NCA/NDA) Collegiate Cheer and Dance Competition in Daytona Beach in April.

Jocilyn Yarnell, club president and a KSU senior majoring in exercise and health science, said the squad won with a routine choreographed by volunteer coach A.J. Lawrence.

One of 25 KSU club sports, the team provides much of its own budget and three-hour practice sessions three times a week are mandatory.

“Most of us work jobs as well as go to school full time,” Yarnell said. “We have to really manage our time well.”

“KSU is proud that our student-athletes can take part in a sport they enjoy, balance their academic and personal commitments and be truly competitive in a national competition like this,” said Laura St. Onge, collegiate club sports director. “This program has been around for 13 years, and it has been in the hands of many great alumnae. Our team strives to hold up the program, and we’re driven by the knowledge that we’re capable of winning national titles.”


-- Jennifer Hafer

Click here for more information about KSU's Club Sports.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit