The Cost Of Being A Sports Player at Kent

Image courtesy of Kent Sport

Now over a month into term, students are beginning to settle into the weekly routines. For many, a large portion of the time spent outside of lecture theatres is dedicated to representing the University as part of a sports team. Although many societies are synonymous for their weekly stint at Vensday, a lot more goes into being a part of a sporting society.

Obviously, natural talent and athletic ability are needed. However, it is also a very time consuming and, depending on what sport you play, can be a very costly extracurricular venture.

With over 60 teams to choose from, any sporting enthusiast has a multitude of options to choose from. Unfortunately, if you were to introduce a budget, these options may dramatically decrease. For those who are new to the sporting world at the University of Kent, it can quickly become a bigger financial burden than what they may have first thought.

The list below reveals some of the most expensive sports teams to join, based on the initial membership fee for a full academic year.

While these are only the initial membership fees, it is inevitable that their positions may change when taking into consideration additional costs. Some sports require players to purchase their own kit or make their own way to training sessions that are outside campus. However, it is worth noting that the cricket membership does includes a £30 kit purchase within its membership fees.

For sports like Ice Hockey, a single pair of ice skates can range between £60 to £600, depending on the type of skates you need; it is easy to see how a student could spend around £500 before ever hitting the ice.

In addition, sports that require all players to partake in socials can also have a similar effect. When considering the cost of alcohol, the price of a taxi ride home, and the amount you spend on a costume, little by little this can add up.

For many students, access to university facilities increases the cost of participation. The most recent changes saw the introduction of facilities only membership, in an attempt to directly address the concerns of sports players at Kent. Many had hoped for a pricing option that would allow for discounted entry to use the facilities. It costs £175 but does not give you access to the gym.

Whilst this may work for many, there is still the slight issue of those who want to represent the University, use the facilities, and go to the gym having to pay for the most expensive package. For £245, you are awarded unlimited access to gym classes, the facilities, and gym. According to the University of Kent website, this works out to be around £1.50 a day. However, in this instance, a men’s basketball player who wanted to access the court and the gym would be required to pay £375 in total. And all this before buying any kit needed to play.

Therefore, there is an argument for establishing a discount for those who regularly represent the University across the country. Arguably, this would act as an incentive to those considering playing and reward to players who continue to highlight Kent’s ability to develop players and produce strong and competitive teams.

The current prices here at Kent are not that much higher than other universities, such as Southampton University which offers a peak performer, 1-year membership for £220 and offers a similar package to our £245 Premium plus.

It is confusing when universities such as the University of Greenwich require a membership fee to a sports team as the only requirement to use the facilities. To put this into perspective, a netball player at Greenwich would pay £50 for a full gym and facility access, in addition to her netball membership. On the other hand, a netball player at the University of Kent would have to pay £335 for the same thing.

Another thing that can impact the costs you incur is your sex. For men wanting to play basketball, they will be expected to pay £68 more than their female counterparts. A similar trend can be seen with Rugby, Football, Lacrosse and hockey; with the men paying £30, £35, £10, and £45 more respectively.

Most sports played by different sexes operate independently of one another, thus requiring different funding. However, in the name of equality, one must question if the end result is entirely fair. Especially if both clubs operate similarly and provide the same service.

It must be stressed that this is the initial membership cost. Further investigations into the inequality in regard to the financial commitment sports players of differing sexes experience may potentially reveal another level of concern.

If you are still wanting to join a sports team but are hoping to avoid the huge price tag, there are several sports which offer different price ranges and can help with payment options. Additionally, there are a plethora of sports that do not carry the hefty price tag that may pique your interest.

Some to consider are the following: Kent Dance which has a standard membership price of £10; for those interested in martial arts, all the options are under £45; those who are more interested in water sports, UKC Surf and Scuba cost £25 for membership. These prices still do not take into consideration the price of equipment, kit, and the sports centre fees.

Understandably, the concept of introducing subsidies for sports players at Kent may not be a priority. Unlike universities such as Loughborough or Leeds, Kent is not exactly known for having some of the best teams in the country. However, there must be further discussions about how much students are willing to pay and what the consequences of the rising cost have on the future of sport at Kent.

Overall, the most unfortunate outcome of these prices is the idea that potential talent has been deterred from joining their sport. Not only could this prevent sports teams reaching their full potential and achieving more, but playing as part of a team is a significant part of university life that some students may miss out on.

For many, being a part of a team was the place where they found their closest friends and bonded over shared interests and memories of travelling to away games and crazy nights out. It is concerning to think that fun like this may have a price tag that many may not be able to afford.