Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball Durham recognised for improving gender equality Durham University named as Sports University of the Year Durham University ranks sixth in Sunday Times University Guide 2015 DUCK scoops top prize at national awards Professor Green to headline Welcome Ball
Home » Durham Comment, Featured

College versus university sport: has Team Durham got its priorities right?

9 April 2013

Maiden Castle

by Will Steele-Moore

Team Durham is in the news again this week with another £500,000 being ploughed into sports facilities at Maiden Castle. This is the latest instalment of a truck-load of money being thrown at the University’s sporting centre – part of the creation of what Team Durham calls a ‘new £6.7m world-class sports facility at Durham University, cementing the University’s global reputation as a centre for sporting excellence’.

Most spectacular of the recent projects is the £1m indoor rowing tank, which has been enhancing the performance of DUBC’s strapping young rowers for a year now. Our esteemed Vice-Chancellor, not one to miss an opportunity to add his two-penneth, commented: “This is another monumental year for sporting achievement at Durham University and we are immensely proud.”

Convinced as he is that Durham has the best student representation in the country, Professor Higgins’s comments should reflect the delight that the entire student body takes in Team Durham’s new facilities. But he has been known to drop the odd clanger, and I’m not sure this pronouncement is any different, not least because most of us will never get the chance to use any of these new facilities.

I’m not sure about the rest of the student population, but the thought that our rowers might be able to shave half a nano-second off their 500m split time as a result of this enormous new tank does not fill me with pride. Given that most of us have better things to do than comb Team Durham’s website for news of a few elite sportsmen, I think the majority of my fellow Durhamites would have similar sentiments if asked. Had the university commissioned fifty solid gold statues of Professor Higgins (come on Chris, you know you want to), this spending would have probably been more relevant to most of our lives.

Team Durham’s spending is not just on equipment, however. The Lacrosse programme concentrates on ‘overseas postgraduate recruitment’, which essentially entails handing several talented American players scholarships, whilst we mere mortals continue throwing our nine grand a year at the Vice-Chancellor. It is partly our money that funds these Lacrosse players, through the £100 sports levy each fresher has to cough up. And yet at the last Univeristy Lacrosse match I attended, I was the only spectator. It is often said that actions speak louder than words. If that is so then the attendance figure at this match speaks for itself. Far from being ‘immensely proud’, most of us seem at best ambivalent towards University-level sport.

Venture down to Maiden Castle on any weekend and you will witness armies of people taking part in a multitude of ball games despite Baltic temperatures, blizzards and brutal hangovers.

What we do care about is college sport. Venture down to Maiden Castle on any weekend and you will witness armies of people taking part in a multitude of ball games despite Baltic temperatures, blizzards and brutal hangovers. College sport is resurgent. At Hatfield, one of Durham’s smaller colleges, there are no fewer than six football teams. Collingwood’s football club go all the way down to a legendary ‘I’ team (that’s nine teams). If we assume that each team has two substitutes, that’s 117 CCAFC members. These 117, along with all college sport clubs, prop up college bars (and perhaps the whole brewing industry of the UK) by drinking their bodyweight in alcohol every Wednesday on a social before heading to Lloyds or Loveshack.

Thanks to their subsidised Yank contingent, Durham Lacrosse recently crushed Loughborough, widely known as the premier sporting university in the country, 23-1, in the BUCS final. You can’t argue that they aren’t successful. But it is success for success’s sake – the players (to quote Mean Girls) ‘don’t even go here!’, or at least are generally not drawn from the ranks of ordinary Durham students. It’s not really Durham, but rather America that has won this final. And whilst I can’t speak for everyone, a successful Lacrosse team isn’t why I came to Durham. Even if our Lacrosse team are the Usain Bolts or Jessica Ennises of their sport, attendance figures at their games suggest that the vast majority of us could not care less.

In my opinion, Team Durham should re-consider their priorities. Buying Wayne Rooney (or his Lacrosse equivalent) might well bring success to Durham, but it is irrelevant to most students. The only University sport that consistently attracts significant interest is rugby, who play their big games at Durham City Rugby Club, presumably because the majority of pitches at Maiden Castle are so poor. If there has been £1m of investment in rugby as there has been in rowing, it’s hard to see where.

durhambucs300x200But it’s not just a question of reassessing the sport that money goes to; more money needs to trickle down to ‘grass-roots’ sport at college level. If I sound like I’m anti University-sport, I’m not. Genuinely. Team Durham sports players pursue the admirable goals of elite performance and fitness and are all excellent athletes (perhaps with the exceptions of the DU Pool and DU Darts teams). But theirs are small and exclusive clubs, an irrelevance to most of us who do not have the skills to join even if we wanted to.

College sport clubs welcome freshers en masse into an inclusive fraternity. You don’t have to be ridiculously keen or talented; you barely even have to play the sport they are dedicated to, as the physiques of many ‘social members’ suggest. You give your all and enjoy yourself, and then go and get drunk afterwards.

The news of yet more sporting investment in Durham is welcome – a proposed new rubber crumb pitch more welcome still – but who will get the chance to use this facility? The evidence suggests that it will be just another expensive irrelevance to most of us. Though college football teams are supposed to get one game on the rubber crumb each year, many of us find our chance to grace Team Durham’s hallowed rubber turf snatched away as the University re-allocated their resources to “more important” University level matches.

Whilst DUBC make use of their £1m rowing tank, the rest of us play football or rugby on pitches resembling the Somme, circa 1916 – if we’re lucky enough that our match hasn’t been cancelled. If Team Durham will insist on building rowing tanks, how about a small fence by the river to stop countless college balls from trickling tamely into the depths of the Wear? Free aerobics classes for all? A set of cricket nets that you don’t get kicked out of if you’re not a University cricket player? Such measures would not cost the earth (or even £1m) and would enhance the lives of many more students than an elite rowing tank.

Photographs: Durham University

59 Comments »

  • sjl said:

    Point of interest: American lacrosse recruits do not get a full ride to play for Durham. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe they pay a reduced international tuition fee equal to the amount a UK resident would pay. As of last year, they also pay subs for club membership.

  • Alex said:

    Brilliant article, very well written.

  • A said:

    Most of the rowing funding didn’t come from the university itself, and much of the fundraising is done by the athletes themselves whilst they are rowing full time and being excellent students. The tank and other facilities are also hired out to raise money and are used to teach local youngsters at “grass roots level”

  • Tom said:

    Your article is completely correct. Maiden Castle hate college sport. Last term my college rugby team played 1 game. 1 game in 9 weeks. Because Maiden Castle deemed the pitches ‘too wet’ or ‘too muddy’. At times of snow, it was fair enough to cancel games- there’s a point when it becomes dangerous. But it seems whenever they can’t be bothered dealing with college sport they cancel it for the most ludicrous of reasons. I mean, mud and rain is the weather rugby is supposed to

    be played in!

  • Lucy said:

    You should do your research before you write an article. Funding for oversees players comes from alumni, parental contributions, subs and the good will of the university. They are helping to strengthen the level of sport in Durham and establish it as a great sporting and all-round university. Having good college teams does nothing to its sporting reputation, hence why focus is on the elite. You sir have clearly never made it as a university sports player and therefore have no idea of the facilities and support required for elite athletes to succeed.

  • llr said:

    A well written article, yes. However there seem to be some key errors in the content. As previously stated most of the funding comes from alumni, not team Durham itself. I am a lacrosse player and can confirm that no one under the name of Will Steele-Moore has every attended a lacrosse game where he is the only spectator. If you compared the rates a college football player pays compared to a university player, you would realise the vast difference in fee. What you have failed to appreciate is that University players across the board pay large sums of money each season to have the right to have pitch time at Maiden Castle. While i appreciate the frustration towards university players, what you have to understand is that we represent the University therefore at the end of the day, we are Team Durham’s main concern.

  • RK said:

    You say noone cares about the lacrosse. I think 70 odd university lacrosse players in the largest university club in England probably find it relavent. As mentioned by others, they arn’t on a free ride, and for a sport which is still in its early stages of growth really in this country they are doing an incredible amount for both the university lacrosse club and the community. It’s not just about winning leagues and championships.

  • Alex said:

    “The good will of the University” – and where, do tell, does that good will in financial terms come from?

    The article clearly states he isn’t bashing University sport – rather the allocations of funds seems to be disproportionate to student interest. Note the example of DURFC who have received very little compared with other Team Durham clubs yet consistently attract the highest viewing numbers and highest (or on par) levels of success of any University team. As mentioned they don’t even use a University pitch.

    Durham is a collegiate University and that is part of what makes it great – upping the funding for facilities which the main body of students will get to use needs to be higher on the agenda – along with upping the facilities for those sports people are actually bothered about watching. If you think that people are going to look at the all-conquering Durham Post-Graduate Men’s Lacrosse XI and think “ah yes, I’ll apply there now” unless they too are looking at subsidised fees and a year abroad you need a reality check.

    The funding allocation does not reflect student interest – If Higgins is going to keep bleating on about participation numbers then he may as well do something to encourage them rather than consistently seeking to neuter the colleges on any level.

  • jdf1988 said:

    American men’s and women’s lacrosse players (along with women’s footballers, men’s and women’s basketball players, men’s and women’s volleyball, as well as other international athletes that compete in tennis) pay the same exact amount as you do to attend Durham. The scholarship that they receive merely reduces their tuition to that of a UK citizen. Do your research. Also, the men’s lacrosse team beat Loughborough 21-2 in the BUCS final. You should make sure your facts are correct, it makes your argument more likely to be taken seriously.

  • B said:

    Once college sport is willing to put in the amount of hours that a
    university team puts in, especially the rowers, one can then consider
    disproportionate funds.

  • WM said:

    http://www.teamdurham.com/universitysport/universityclubs/lacrosse.mens/scholarships/

    For the record, the article notes TD are ‘handing several talented American players scholarships’, which the TD website, as above, would appear to confirm. No-where does it try to argue that they are on a ‘free ride’.
    It’s a fair point that University Players do pay more, though to be fair this is at least partly to cover expensive kit and transport to and from games. Regardless, the question of priorities is different. Given that so many more people within the Durham community participate in College Sport than do in elite sport, there is a pretty good case that college sport should be of at least equal importance to Team Durham as the elite sportspeople. Team Durham’s ‘reputation’ is not all that important to most Durham students, who participate in sport for enjoyment as a supplement to the main purpose of University, education.

  • Thomas Yaxley said:

    Well the ‘Yanks’ have truly pulled together on this one, good on you..

    They are of course correct, the majority of funding is sourced from Alumni and Parent giving, e.g. The majority of the funding for the rowing tank was bequeathed by an Alumni. However, the university does give them scholarships which cost money, even if it is only to bring them down to the levels of a UK student. The difference being the university is still forgoing a huge amount of money as the difference in fees, unlike a UK student, is not being made up by the Government. There is a train of thought that certain sports get more support in this way than others. However, this should not be taken out on the students themselves.

    Funding to build these projects is also sourced from Governing bodies, NGO’s and government sports grants. These all carry with them stipulations, for example the availability of the facilities to the public, Durham Fencing are a great example of this. DUFC has benefited massively from the brand new, Sports England funded, fencing centre of excellence that Maiden castle houses, but it must be accessible to the public as well. Everyone else has also benefited form the money as it was part of the funding for the new buildings down at Maiden Castle. This funding comes because we are an elite sports university, so our standing is important and affects all sportsmen and women at Durham.

    As for the Rugby Club, it has recently raised in excess of £150k in order to fund its Director of Rugby, not a penny of which came from Team Durham or the University. The success of clubs like rugby has meant that the facilities available to students, not only university representatives as the crumb is used by colleges as well, has increased. This in turn allows for the quality of College sport to increase. It should be known that university sports do not always get priority on these state of the art facilities. A University side, I won’t name which one, was not given the use of the rubber crumb in a League deciding game beacuse college sport was playing on it. There are cases for both sides.

    Might I suggest that you are, like the rest of us, frustrated by the lack of sport that was able to be played due to the weather. This is a vent of frustration, however, I would suggest that you maybe look at who you alienate with these vents. You would also do well to have a good knowledge of your subject before commenting on it. There are a lot of people down at Team Durham who work hard for sport at Durham, both University and College, and without whom we may not have the highest student sports participation in the country.

  • jdf1988 said:

    University athletes represent the University, therefore are afforded a higher priority. University athletes also train 6 days a week and don’t try to reschedule a match when it coincides with a fashion show or formal. There is a much higher level of commitment on a University team than on a College team which, again, affords a higher priority.

  • 35 said:

    Get at us when your “college team” wins a national championship.

    “haters gonna hate”
    -Margaret Thatcher

  • M said:

    I find it funny that you say the Americans “don’t even go here” when they are the ones representing and playing FOR the University, not college athletes. The University gives the highest level of attention and the most facilities priority to the teams that compete at the University level. If you are upset about the way Maiden Castle runs college sport, you should demand that your colleges, which you represent, provide fields and people to organize sport for you instead. Also, “Maiden Castle” doesn’t call off football or rugby games, it is the groundsmen. It’s funny how you think there are a bunch of MC staff huddled in an upstairs office plotting against your poor little college sports teams. If you want to be treated better by the University Sports Facilities, you should play a University sport. IF you aren’t good enough to play University sport, you shouldn’t be looking for handouts. And if you want 1million pounds to go towards you and your college team, some of you should become Olympians or National Champions.

  • James said:

    I think a lot of people here are picking at small comments about over-seas lacrosse players and missing the bigger picture. Durham is a collegiate University, and anyone who has been here long enough can recognize that it is our biggest asset. What I think the WSM is getting at is that Team Durham aren’t really appreciating this and focusing most of its attention on University teams, which means we aren’t fully optimizing the benefits that such a system can give us.
    Essentially sport is something that only very few Durham students can participate in at a high level, and so the question is why are so many of its resources centralized on these people?

  • M said:

    I’m an American University lacrosse player and I challenge you to a foot race. Winner gets our practice time on the Rubber Crumb…

  • jdf1988 said:

    The majority of the resources are centralized on university athletes for a couple reasons. For one, they are better athletes. Secondly, they represent the Durham in competition against other UK universities (the men’s lacrosse team also plays on an international level defeating the Holland, German and English national team). Also, Durham as a university gains more favorable overall rating the better its university sports teams do. Therefore, Team Durham obviously cares more about its university teams, rather than its college teams (which is really nothing more than an intramural league).

  • jdf1988 said:

    This is exactly right. I personally know of many people at Team Durham that slave away at ensuring that College Sport goes on without a hitch.

  • On a Fishing trip said:

    To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

    In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

    Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

    Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

    Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

    To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

    ———————–

    1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).

    ————————

    2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’

    ——————-

    3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

    —————–

    4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

    ———————-

    5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

    ———————-

    6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

    ——————–

    7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

    ——————-

    8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

    ——————-

    9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

    ———————

    10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

    ———————

    11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

    ———————

    12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

    ——————–

    13.. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

    —————–

    14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

    —————

    15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

    God Save the Queen!

    Just to carry on the Yank bashing trend

  • W said:

    Most college Boat Clubs have to pay for use of the Erg Galleries and the tank at Maiden Castle. The first eights of nearly all of these clubs are devoted enough to their sport, and thus would put in the hours that you deem warrants even a fraction of the £1m funding.

  • patriot said:

    Thanks to us, you don’t speak German
    -The United States of America (back-to-back World War Champs)

  • RK said:

    The additional thing is. How would you allocate this funding. Who gets priority. Does the I team football? Over which other college sport. For what, more footballs? A couple of colleges don’t have to pay sporting subs, this is provided for by the budget. Others do pay subs. So should they not have to pay and be provided by the university. At what level of college sport do you stop giving funding. Should a badminton A team get priority over a football F team. Define what every single college team needs that should be provided by the university.
    As you say, most are playing for enjoyment and not at an elite level. Compared to high level athletes who need the facilities. You complain abut the lacrosse team. The only other lacrosse pitch in the university other than the rubber crumb was turned into a football pitch.
    And its irrelevant of ‘reputation’. It’s providing facilities for one of the best sporting universities in the country bar Loughborough and you can be sure as hell they pump just as much into the sport as we do.

  • JC said:

    I completely agree that more needs to be done with regards to college-level sport. I am the JCR Treasurer of what will remain an unnamed college and know as well as the next guy that the funding just isn’t there to make college sport affordable. If at any time someone cannot participate in sport due to the expenses involved, then I believe we are getting something seriously wrong.not just as a university but as a society. What might be worth bearing in mind, however, is that this funding gap is one which is echoed across all aspects of our university experience; colleges each year make a surplus which is sent off to central, they then allocate it to cover certain costs and a variety of projects – some exceedingly worthwhile and necessary, some less so i.e. Higgins’ recent pay rise in light of the lack of a living wage for all university staff. But meanwhile, a lot of JCRs are struggling to provide the financial support available to allow college level sport to continue at an affordable rate.

    All that said however, I’m sure if we all had Team Durham stash, we would have considerably less to gripe about and would, I hope, instead turn our attention to more important issues facing our university and, ultimately our Great British Nation.

    #ThatcherIsn’tDead.

  • Guest said:

    Great article! I’d also say that if they bothered to invest the cash in improving the quality and quantity of College sports then it’s pretty likely they’d get more BUCS standard people. If the quality of College basketball was better, or if there were better athletics, or frisbee facilities that catered for college teams. People would be inspired to try for Uni level sport! From the state of it now, and the attitude of some Uni teams I’ve encountered, I don’t even want to be involved with it all.. Perhaps, I’m no business student but, a bit of market research might be useful here? And not just a survey taken from outside the rowing tank..

  • IJ said:

    Author seems to be taking the college sport facilities for granted. Anyone who is a non-elite athlete at a non-collegiate university who wanted to participate in a sport just for a kick about here and there, would be begging to have what’s available at Durham, most other universities focus mainly on their own athletic teams rather than say the Law society football club.

    Yes it’s annoying having games cancelled, and as both a college rugby player and a university athlete I’ve seen both sides of the Durham sports world with cancellations left right and centre, and alot of cancellations just due to the disorganisation of those organising the College leagues.

    And the article seems to forget that Lacrosse is not the only club to give scholarships… Tennis give a lot out, and the university reap the rewards, i.e the tennis club are THE highest BUCS points earning club, the 2nd nearest being Hockey with a gap of just under 90 points, hockey beating lacrosse by just 3 points (note hockey have 2 more teams than Lacrosse)

  • Rob said:

    Great article! I’d also say that if they bothered to invest the cash in improving the quality and quantity of College sports then it’s pretty likely they’d get more BUCS standard people. If the quality of College basketball was better, or if there were better athletics, or frisbee facilities that catered for college teams. People would be inspired to try for Uni level sport! From the state of it now, and the attitude of some Uni teams I’ve encountered, I don’t even want to be involved with it all.. Perhaps, I’m no business student but, a bit of market research might be useful here? And not just a survey taken from outside the rowing tank…

  • Keith Stone said:

    Hilarious, well done. With the exception of your comment about beer. Most American bars have at least twice the selection as bars here. Almost all of which have more flavoUr.

  • Anon said:

    A few things.

    1. DURFC is more than just one team. Its 2nd, 3rd and 4th team play on MC1, MC2 and Shincliffe.

    2. The pitch Durham City RFC is actually owned by the University, so the 1st team does, in fact, play on a university pitch. If the pitches at Maiden Castle are good enough for the second team and below, they’re good enough for the first team. They aren’t some mythical gods who are only able to play on perfectly manicured grass. I don’t know for certain the reason they play at Durham City, but I suspect it’s more down to the problems of having four rugby pitches (ignoring the rubbercrumb) at Maiden Castle (including the two Shincliffe pitches which, ironically are actually owned by Durham City RFC) which on any given Wednesday afternoon may have to accommodate four mens university rugby matches, two women’s university rugby matches and any number of college rugby matches. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work out that not everyone can play at the same time. On top of that, there aren’t many hours of light in the afternoon in the winter months, so realistically at least one team is going to have to play under floodlights. Durham City is a convenient solution as it leaves the rubber crumb free for college sports games in the evenings.

    3. People who play university sports pay for it. I have a rough idea of how much subs for university sports costs, but less of an idea of how much college sports cost (I’ve played college sport and not had to pay anything for subs), but I’d be willing to bet that the subs for the university sports teams are much higher than for your college sports teams. On top of that, the university sports teams do have to pay for use of Team Durham facilities. I believe the current cost of the rubber crumb is £8 for half a pitch for half an hour, and that is true regardless of whether you’re a university club or a college one. There are also various affiliation fees and coaching and travel contributions that have to be paid directly by the clubs. This is funded by subs from players, sponsorship which teams have to find themselves and fundraising. If you want to have the same level of priority for use of pitches etc, then pay for it. Just like the university clubs have to.

    4. The facilities at Maiden Castle are open to everyone. Any Durham University student is welcome to get a group of friends together and hire a court to play basketball, squash, badminton, football etc for a fraction of the price of what you’d have to pay at a place like Freeman’s Quay. There is a special student price for membership of the Maiden Castle gym and the classes on offer (e.g. spinning) are cheaper than elsewhere and open to everyone, whether they have a gym membership or not. The facilities are there for everyone to use. It’s not Team Durham’s fault if you’re not using them.

    5. The University’s reputation for sports on a national level is enhanced by University sports teams more than college sports teams. The better the University’s reputation for sport, the more money it can attract. This enables them to build better facilities, such as a new rubber crumb which will benefit college sports teams too. Do you think that would be possible without the success of the University teams?

  • IJ said:

    http://www.palatinate.org.uk/?p=38091 On the subject of what the Lacrosse club have done to earn their scholarships.

  • S said:

    He never said they did get a free ride, he just said that they receive scholarships.

  • IJ said:

    “whilst we mere mortals continue throwing our nine grand a year at the Vice-Chancellor”… quite suggests that the scholarships are considerably more than they are.

  • Justice4DUPool said:

    This is pure nonsense. DU pool are at the peak of physical fitness!(ish)

  • Chris Tetlow said:

    Ill- informed moron.

  • 2Pool4School said:

    Agreed! This is an absolute outrage.

  • Bait taken... said:

    A yes the World War argument… I would say that was a rather successful fishing trip then…

  • Andy said:

    The river in Durham is the Wear, even the Americans know that.

  • Charles Darwin said:

    I suppose you also feel as though trophies and medals should be given out for participation.

  • Ja said:

    This is a whole lot of nonsense. I agree to some extent about increasing the funding of college sports but on the other hand university sports are always granted the upper hand in any university across the world. People come from various parts of the country- the world to play university sports and Durham has been recognised for many years now as having the most student participation (involvement) in sports. I have played at both College level and university level in two different sports (for durham) but i can say that ability wise they are in two different baskets. University Sports is more intense and hence the funding they expect more from the athlete and always remain as professional as possible, while college sports is the total opposite!!!! Do you think people who play university sports will turn up to training or go to a match with a ‘brutal hangover’? NO because they are dedicated and they know what’s at stake. I’m sure oxford, cambridge and harvard put more funding into their university sports than colleges! That’s because they want to stay relevant in terms of sports! Supposing there was an inter-university college competition (E.G chads vs jesus college in cambridge) then more funding can be requested because the ‘name’ of the university is at stake.

  • XJ92 said:

    This is horrendously poorly researched, the bucs score, the spelling of the Wear, the funding of the scholarships, the usage of the rowing tanks by uni AND colleges and their advantages all incorrect or belittled. Not forgetting that if the Uni teams didn’t do so well in the first place there would be little university incentive to improve it’s sports facilities over certain academic areas that need improvement. It’s a shame people are agreeing with you when you barely actually know what you are talking about or have been bothered to find out and ask questions.

    Also you say “It’s not really Durham, but rather America that has won this final. ” seem to have not done your research and found that the current Lacrosse club and alumni consist of Welsh, English, Irish and Scottish national players, most of which came on the scholarships or earned them from the work they put in through their undergrad.

    As well as the 100% “British” 2nd team winning the Conference cup in 2012 with the help of the training of the “Yanks” or as I prefer to call them, fellow students.

  • 1 said:

    Hatfield boat club has a better first 8 than DUBC, they still get large donations and funding.

  • Thomas Yaxley said:

    An interesting chain of thought. However, I propose you think about the following few facts:

    1) Operation Sealion – the Nazi plan to invade the UK – was indefinitely postponed in September 1940, well over a year before the USA entered the war. This was due to their failure to defeat the RAF, to which the USA contributed 11 Pilots (who by fighting risked their citizenship).

    2) The USA had no interest in joining in the war in Europe, even after Pearl Harbour. The USA declared war on Germany on the 11th December, 3 days after a similar declaration on the Japanese, only as a reaction to Germanys declaration against the US.

    3) The Russians would have eventually beaten the Germans, even without western help, it would simply have taken them a little longer.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful to those US service personal who fought in the European theatre. However, be very careful when trying to claim the moral high ground on this issue as the US has never really been the ‘great’ ally that you like to think. After all how many known IRA terrorists did you extradite to Britain? and how much money did they raise in the USA?

    So it is not as simple as you may like to think, there are numerous other examples that could be added to this list. Probably more appropriate to say that you helped to end the war in Europe earlier than it otherwise would have.

    Just as an afterthought, the French, Norwegians, Danish, Dutch, Belgians, Polish and Czechs all had something in common during WWII. They were all occupied by the germans, but all retained their mother tongue. So I doubt we would be speaking German.

  • Paul Rabil said:

    I don’t go to Durham, just a lacrosse player passing by. Durham has taken it too far when it comes to ruining the competitiveness of the BUCS premier lacrosse league. Everyone hates playing Durham – not just because we get well and truly battered – but because it is not competitive. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the gap between Lacrosse here and those across the pond, it would be like Real Madrid taking on Collingwoods ‘I’ team. Stop ruining fun by pumping ridiculous amounts of money into less competitive sports; and as the writer of this article suggests, put it into sports that people want to be elite.

  • S.K said:

    So, it’s better to complain about the competition than to raise your own bar, right? Wrong. You forget that Durham Men’s lacrosse is one of few (if not the only) clubs in the country to field three lacrosse teams. That the Americans (a minority in the club) who study here have unparalleled coaching skill and play an important role in inspiring students to take up the sport, from development (third team) level up. That the second team enjoy great success due to the expertise and guidance these players bring. “Grass roots” enough for you?

    I’m not a “Yank” or a even a student who came to Durham because of its Lacrosse reputation (yes they do exist, especially among the women’s teams) but am one of many who first picked up a webbed stick due to mixed lacrosse, or has its popularity at College level conveniently been left out too?
    The author clearly has his issues with success being rewarded, to list his numerous inaccuracies in facts, funding and the like would take a while but what is clear, from the onslaught of responses to this article and the growth of the sport university wide is that Durham cares about Lacrosse. As a fellow “player passing by” you should respect such efforts to grow the sport in the UK, despite the club having only one session on the crumb a week (the same as many college teams).

    As for the author, it is my opinion that the Palatinate should consider whether to publish him again. He’s more likely to win a foot race grumbling about brutal hangovers than to produce factually correct articles.

  • Dave said:

    Well that’s utter tosh. Granted, their boat may be better (due to their last president blowing a huge grant solely on an 8), but the crew is no where near as talented or fit. Don’t spout nonsense.

  • dave said:

    Here, here. The funding also has a proven track record of success- ie. Olympic standard rowers produced by the programme. If you dispute this method of funding, where funding is allocated to successful teams and clubs, then go argue with the BOC.

  • KW said:

    As a female Hatfield rower I can confirm that we train 6/7 days a week (2 weights sessions, 2 ergo sessions and 3/4 water sessions). And this level of commitment towards a college sport gets results – our top IV is undefeated and the 1st VIII placed 20 seconds behind DU 2nd VIII and beat their 3rd VIII in the Women’s Head of River Race in London. People who participate in college sport are committed (can you get much more committed than training 7 days a week?), yet we don’t get any recognition from the University.

  • fartymcpoopypants said:

    Did you write this article after swimming in front of a boat race and later attending a ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ party?

  • fartymcpoopypants said:

    You’ve probably been harassed at school about this, but were your parents notorious criminals Will Steel-Moore?

  • Hodge said:

    As one of Team Durham’s super human, immortal Yanks, I find this article to be very upsetting. The saddest part for me is that the author does make some valid points, particularly towards the end, but has already turned his audience off by coming across as jaded, ignorant and insulting. There is an inherent disrespect for all of the work that goes on at Team Durham and the fact that organizing hundreds of college sports teams is extremely difficult.

    On top of that, he seems to present the idea that only college sport suffers because of bad weather. I play volleyball for the university, an indoor sport, and last term three of our training sessions were cancelled due to bad weather outdoors. As a member of DUBC’s Fresher’s Squad I also saw 6 of my first 8 races cancelled due to weather or transportation issues. It happens to every team, college and university alike. The weather is out of our control, so whinging about it is pointless. While on the topic of the weather and cancellations of college sport, I’d like to note that last term the grounds crew called off college football due to the condition of the pitches, and in an attempt to try to appease the masses, Team Durham played the games. As a result, upwards of 10,000 pounds of damage was done to those pitches. While it is upsetting to have a match or training session cancelled due to the weather, there are safety and financial reasons for doing so.

    Another point that no one has seemed to bring up yet is that the American imports and uni athletes on the whole do work for their stay. BUCS points equate to money both directly and indirectly. Boasting that we are second in BUCS gets us grants from UK sport, more generous giving from alumni, as well as inputs from other non-governmental bodies. You could try to argue that more of that money should go towards college sport, but would instantly be shot down. If the elite athletes winning games and obtaining that funding for Team Durham don’t get supported properly, none of us will have any facilities to complain about. Above the money that brings in, Team Durham receives national acclaim and funding for running community coaching programs throughout County Durham. This year alone an estimated 10,000 primary school students in the area have been coached in either basketball, lacrosse, netball or women’s football by qualified Durham University athletes. How many community coaching sessions does college sport run?

    A third point to be made is that Durham is one of only 4 universities in the UK with a college athletic system, and we support ours more than any other university. I’ve never seen anything like college sport at Durham, not even back home in the states. We have intramural sport, but the pride in competing for your college team here at Durham is truly unique. Durham athletes ALL have it pretty good. If you’d like to disagree and argue that college sports teams at Durham get the short straw, feel free to go down to Loughborough and ask them how their college progam is going. There if you aren’t good enough to make it on the Uni team, you don’t play sport, full stop.

    In regards to attendance at athletic events on a Wednesday, I’d like to point out that it’s very difficult to draw a crowd when the majority of your largest supporters are simultaneously playing sport. I see this as a problem with BUCS, not Team Durham. It’s unfortunate that a lot of our training schedules don’t allow us time to get to know more of the general student body, but that shouldn’t be held against us. Local athletes had the opportunity to make friends on their college corridor, American post-grads didn’t. Instead of shunning us for that, try saying hi to us, see how our team did this week, talk to us about the Man City v Man U game, come to one of our games, ask us if we want to come to one of your college matches or socials… I assure you, we won’t bite. The point at large is that we shouldn’t be tearing a team down because they don’t have fans in the stands. We should be looking to support each other. I’m sure the uni football team would love to have all 117 members of CCAFC in the stands for a game. This goes for sports played by Brits and Americans alike.

    Finally, sport is inherently social, but at the same time it is intended to be
    competitive. If the goal of a group of college students is to have fun and get pissed, start a college beer pong team, not a tenth college football team. If the most competitive aspect of your team is seeing who can crawl the Bailey the fastest, start a social club, not an athletic one. Allow the limited athletic resources that are available to go to those who are invested in sport.

    As I said earlier, I agree with the underlying idea presented in this article. There are undoubtedly more people represented by college sport than there are by uni sport. Improvements like putting up a fence to save footballs from floating away, installing a semi-permanent cricket netting system, providing free aerobics classes and possibly clinics put on by uni athletes for college athletes would all go miles in terms of boosting college sport. Insulting a minority group who is extremely dedicated to Durham and does a lot of work both on and off of the pitches does nothing towards achieving that same goal. I genuinely think that supporting each other as athletes, whether for college or uni, irrelevant of where you are from, will result in stronger sides at all levels. Additionally, presenting your arguments in an objective, constructive manner will result in more help coming your way than playing the victim card.

  • Hodge said:

    I have to disagree with you on this. The issue is not one of quantity at all. The issue is one of quality and efficiency. If the money that was being put towards college sport were used to fund more concentrated coaching for fewer, higher profile teams, then your argument is sound. At that point though there is little separating a really strong college team from the uni teams and people will write articles like the one above about the new Adidas uniforms XYZ college spent 5,000 pounds on.

    Think about this logically. We are currently just shy of 100 college football teams. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I would argue that cutting the fat and focusing on the top 50 teams there would provide more BUCS standard athletes long term than adding another 100 teams. We are strapped for resources, both financial and otherwise, and further extending those resources is not going to help anything.

  • Hodge said:

    I don’t mean to be rude, but if you’re looking for recognition from the university, row for the university. If you are looking for recognition from Hatfield Boat Club and your alum there, then stay where you are.

  • h said:

    That 3rd VIII were novices who had started rowing only a few months previous; I think they did extremely well to compete with crews who, in many cases, had several years of experience.

  • MC said:

    Try rowing 14 times a week.

  • Nahtan said:

    Well put.

  • Alex Hunt said:

    Can we find out the breakdown of sports at a University and College level? It would be interesting to see which sports are the most popular and which are the most cost effective – i.e which cost the least to provide/ improve/ maintain and which provide the most benefit to their members?

    Not knowing anything about the uptake of the rowing tank or other facilities i find it hard to suggest weather the money could have been better used, but i’d certainly support an increased focus on College sport

  • Osama bin laxin said:

    As a general, the university lacrosse scene doesn’t ‘hate’ durham lacrosse or any of it’s players, its not the ‘yanks’ fault at all, they’ve been placed in a league that is much lower quality than what their used to, they’re expected to win, so they win.

    they problem is that if a lacrosse team was to start with amazing fresh to lacrosse athletes at 1st year, train 7 times a week for the three years with top english coaches. they’d still be stomped by the durham squad. each one of the durham squad has 8-12 years of experience in lacrosse at a high, if not the highest, level.
    Its unattainable for any English university squad (maybe sheffield hallam at a push if they get their act together due to high numbers of english club talent) to match that talent.

    durham university sport admins are ‘working the system’ every university pays money to compete in bucs, only for certain universities to employ tricks such as bringing in international ‘fresh out the box’ talent to act as a massive cash cow.

    Winning teams get more money, more interest and support from the university.
    But how are university lacrosse teams supposed to grow when they’ll never win? what incentive to universities have then to push lacrosse to it’s only ‘elite’ level

    by durham using foreign talent, they may grow lacrosse in the immediate area with camps, coaching etc, but they’re stifling lacrosse across the rest of the northern prem and below.
    whilst not massive smothering effect, it’s a death of a thousand cuts.

    as lacrosse in the university continues to grow this problem will only become more apparent and will end in two ways, other universities will employ foreign talent, further smothering english growth. or new bucs rules be implaced banning foreign talent which cause unfair discrimination.

    it comes from people not seeing a sport for what it is but another way to make money.

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