The men’s volleyball club may need to sponsor tournaments like the “King and Queen of the Grass” to fund their season, but hopefully that won’t be the case for much longer. As of right now, space is limited and resources are zero for head coach Robert Ward and his crew, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The light just happens to be the bane of most student’s existence this semester, construction.
“Once the new wellness center is open, we will have a lot more space,” Ward said. “For now our only home matches will be two tournaments held on weekends. There just isn’t a lot of space for us to get court time on a consistent basis.”
The first of their tournaments will be held Dec. 7 and 8 this season with the rest of their matches to be determined. In the past they have made road trips all over the country, all the way from Long Beach to Kansas City. Their extensive traveling leads to the next bump in the road, money.
“Our traveling costs are about $25,000 a season,” Ward said. “Our fundraisers help with that, some years we are able to raise enough for all of our costs, but all of our players know they are going to have to chip in. For the most part they plan on putting in about $1,000 of their own money.”
Ward’s group tries to incentivize their tournaments with about $1,000 worth of merchandise in prizes for the tournament winners in several different categories. But with entry fees of $15 – $20, it’s hard to fill the coffers enough to meet the needs of the team. Unlike varsity teams, scholarships are a rare occurrence.
“We do have a fund set up to help with scholarships,” Ward said. “There isn’t much in their for this season, but we hope to have that available soon.”
For now, the club will continue to rely on fund-raising with partners like UOVA (Utah Outdoor Volleyball Association), who run about 25 tournaments a year, six of which UVU has hosted. Participants ranged from all different age groups and classifications and came from all over to join in the fun.
“We have people come from all over Utah and even some from out of state,” Ward said. “This tournament was a little different, you didn’t register as a team, only individuals. You would come sign up and then you’d be assigned a partner and rotate with a new partner each match you played.”
Space may be setting itself up for next season, but the resources are yet to be determined, mainly due to attendance and priority within the schools budget.
“We are grateful for all the fans that show up,” Ward said. “But we only have two weekends a season that we can schedule the gym, so we don’t have much of a chance to build a following. When we become a varsity team, and that will be sometime soon, we will always have a place to play and we will be able to get some resources from the school to help fund what we are trying to build here at UVU.”
This year, there will be an “open gym” time for anyone who wants to come and play held every Monday evening up until the open tryouts for the team . Those tryouts will be held Oct. 22, 2012.