The captain of Dublin University Archery Club has claimed that “smaller [sports] clubs are treated unfairly” by Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC). Diego Coyle has told Trinity News that based on his experience, he “[doesn’t] feel that [their] needs are being fully met” by the college sporting body. Coyle, who previously served as captain of Maynooth University Archery Club, also believes that there is not enough transparency, which has led to poor relations between clubs and the organisation.
Coyle has already voiced his concerns this year regarding the treatment of smaller clubs within DUCAC. At the DUCAC AGM in October, Diego tabled a motion calling for an amendment to the club’s constitution, which would change voting rights at future meetings. According to Article 8 of the constitution, “Sports Club Members of DUCAC and Pavilion Members who are members of a DUCAC affiliated Sport Club, who are present, are entitled to vote at General Meetings”.
His “one club, one vote” model would restrict voting privileges to the captain of each member club. Coyle explained: “Throughout the [meeting], I heard most of the people running saying that they want transparency and equal treatment for all clubs, whether large or small. How can there be equal treatment if the large clubs can bring in all their members? How is [the current system] fair to small clubs who are either just starting or have not had the time to progress their club to an equal size?” The motion was dismissed by the DUCAC Chairman Donagh McDonagh and the meeting was adjourned.
Coyle has experience with other college sporting bodies from his time in Maynooth University. Sports clubs in Maynooth are funded and controlled by the students’ union. He recalls, “in Maynooth clubs had an equal say as long as you were active. Funding depended on your sport’s needs, but also your activity levels within the student body, the number of members coming to training, medals won and participation [at competitions]. We were treated fairly because we showed we deserved it. All clubs were given a chance to progress if they showed the effort, [it] didn’t matter how long you were in the college, or type of sport [you played]. If you didn’t bother or didn’t win anything, you wouldn’t receive as much funding.”
“I have [been told] multiple times, and I am paraphrasing: “why should you be treated the same as a big sport?”
In contrast, Coyle believes that the smaller clubs at Trinity do not receive equal treatment from DUCAC, not only in terms of funding but also hall allocation, support systems, and treatment: “I have [been told] multiple times, and I am paraphrasing: ‘why should you treated the same as a big sport?’”
Coyle explains that full bows are in the €400 to €600 price range, so to cater for a team of 20 archers can cost up to €12,000. DUCAC have allocated €4,400 to DU Archery, which he says, “compared to other years is a significant increase”. He also intends to apply for additional capital to, “support some major areas which I feel as a college we need. He reveals that he “[is] hoping to run an open training at least once a month with an international coach for people with disabilities”.
However, Coyle feels that DUCAC are failing the club in other aspects, such as their venue for training. “We are only eligible to train in the one hall. However, we have ran into so many issues. We can only shoot in Hall B in the Main Sports Room. There is no other place on campus we can train. As the hall has not been fully set up for the club yet, we have to prepare it manually. This can take between 15 [minutes], on a rare day, to 45 minutes to set up and take down. Installing a proper net would take out the majority of the work, as currently we have to bring about 120kg of weights from auxiliary. Setting-up time in most archery clubs is approximately between five to 15 minutes.”
Above all, Coyle reveals that the biggest obstacle they have as a club is trying to contact DUCAC with their concerns: “The biggest issue is the amount of work we have to do [when] dealing with DUCAC. It’s difficult to get a straight answer. For example, we are in the process of getting our nets installed but we haven’t heard [from them regarding] what stage we are at.”
“They all are working with me, but I feel that if I did not go into their office nearly twice a week, most of the progress we have made would not have happened.”
“I am mainly involved with the administrator, deputy managers, and health and safety individuals. They all are working with me, but I feel that if I did not go into their office nearly twice a week, most of the progress we have made would not have happened. I’ve also requested the minutes of DUCAC meetings and funding information but to date have not received them.”
“In my view, DUCAC is there to progress all sports and should treat all clubs with equal respect.”
Coyle feels that there is a need for greater transparency within the organisation so that clubs do not feel marginalised: “In my view, DUCAC is there to progress all sports and should treat all clubs with equal respect. Their job is to help DU sports clubs to progress in their development and interest within the student body. This can only be done if each club is treated on equal grounds.” Thus, without clear communication networks, clubs like DU Archery believe that they are not seeing the whole picture. If the sporting body allows clubs to become dissatisfied with their treatment, then college sports teams cannot reach their full potential.”
Coyle’s motion at the DUCAC AGM demonstrates that the patience of small clubs towards the capitated body is wearing thin. The dissatisfaction expressed by him and other members at the meeting suggests that a storm is brewing within the organisation – one that needs to be dealt with quickly and effectively before both sides go beyond the point of no return. Coyle’s call for reform may seem too idealistic, but it shows that the clubs are willing to find a resolution. When asked whether he feels the motion will ever be passed, Coyle remains optimistic: “There are approximately 50 sport clubs in Trinity, with only a small portion being large clubs. If the rest are willing to gather behind this idea, it would mean that together we could have an equal standing.”