There are so many ways to get involved with sports in college, such as through varsity, club and intramural teams. RIT has 22 men’s and women’s varsity-level teams, as well as a handful of other club sports. On the other hand though, while there are a wide variety of sports and athletic activities represented at RIT, there are many popular ones that are not even offered as a wellness class.

Collegiate versus Club

Club sports are a great way to get involved without having to play at the super-competitive level that varsity teams play at with strict practice schedules. For most varsity sports, there is a club equivalent; such as having both club volleyball in addition to having a varsity level team. ThoughBut what about the club sports that do not have a varsity team? With field hockey being a predominantly female-heavy sport, most colleges only have varsity women’s teams.

RIT, however, has a co-ed club team that can be joined by anyone. Kevin LeBlevec — a professor with RIT's French Department and technology specialist for modernl languages — coaches the club field hockey team at RIT.

“It’s much more social, so you can’t ask as much of them,” LeBlevec said, “It’s fun and friendly and practices are only 1-2 times a week, based on turf availability.”

“It’s much more social, so you can’t ask as much of them ... It’s fun and friendly and practices are only 1-2 times a week, based on turf availability.”

LeBlevec talked about having hour-long practices or less because varsity would need that space for extra practices — leaving them to look for alternative spaces or schedule extra practices. Although club sports teams play competitively with other schools, varsity takes priority of these spaces, regardless of the club team’s schedule.

“E-board has done a really good job about scheduling extra practices, so we’ve been able to make things work. [But] it’s hard to get a successful program when there’s limited turf time," LeBlevec said.

Another difference between club and varsity is the fact that the team is predominantly run by an executive board. The coach — in RIT’s case at least — is the club advisor; they are mainly there to help direct and organize practices.

“I advise but I don’t make decisions,” LeBlevec stated.

Although RIT’s club field hockey team has won three State Championships within LeBlevec’s time here, it is unlikely that there will be a varsity team due to NCAA regulations.

However, some students seem to prefer club sports due to the flexibility of practices and the social, yet competitive aspect. For example, according to LeBlevec, some students even come from the ice hockey teams as a way to stay engaged in the sport during the off-season.

CrossFit: Where Is It?

While some sports and athletic activities are offered as either a club, varsity team or wellness course, there are some that aren’t available at all. CrossFit, for example, is a popular style of high-intensity interval training workout that incorporates bodyweight movement through gymnastics, weightlifting and other various cardio exercises.

Joshua Johnson, general manager of the Rochester Sports Garden, and Sarah Johnson, a CrossFit trainer, have helped train and teach CrossFit for the past five years. Although the Rochester Sports Garden has been around since 1955, “CrossFit” was only added a couple of years ago.

"To be a CrossFit gym you have to pay an affiliation fee with CrossFit,” Mosley stated. “There are many gyms who do very similar to what we do, they just can’t call it CrossFit because they don’t pay for the name.”

“There are many gyms who do very similar to what we do, they just can’t call it CrossFit because they don’t pay for the name.”

Furthermore, the affiliation process consists of an application with an essay and an annual cost of $3,000 simply to use the name. Therefore, in order for colleges to offer CrossFit as a club or class, an annual affiliate fee would have to be paid; most likely one of the reasons RIT may not offer the program.

Additionally, controversy about the safety of CrossFit could be another leading factor in the lack of CrossFit programs in colleges.

“Some schools might not have it because of the bad rep," Mosley said. "It's associated with people doing stupid things like lifting heavy weights as quickly as possible."

Therefore, RIT, amongst other colleges, may be reluctant due to the substantial application process. Not mentioning the the expensive affiliate fee and the aforementioned safety concerns.


On the other hand, the Triathlon Club used to have a presence at RIT, but is now combined with the Running Club as the Running and Multisport Club; presumably combining two similar clubs for more members.

Laura Beth Lincoln, an RIT alum and triathlete talked about the sport and why there may be a lack of interest amongst college students.

“It’s a fairly new sport ... 2000 was its first appearance in the Olympics,” Lincoln began. “If you think about how old someone is when they see that, it may be past the entry age of the Olympic pipeline.”

Essentially, with triathlons’ recent addition to the Olympics, many college students may not have had the exposure to it at a young enough age to express a greater interest in it; though this has increased within the past couple of years.

Furthermore, another difficulty with having a college team would be the availability to equipment, such as bicycles.

“The biggest hurdle is the bicycle," Lincoln said.

Absent Athletics

In addition to Crossfit and Triathlons, there are many other athletic activities that RIT doesn’t offer; popularly: football, squash, rifle/pistol, water polo and synchronized swimming. Along with club sports, they do not offer varsity level for activities such as gymnastics, golf, archery and rugby. The lack of some club sports may be due to lack of interest/participation or lack of resources and facilities, while some club sports might not meet the NCAA requirements.

However, this isn’t to say that these sports will never be present on campus. In order to start a club team, students just need 10 members and a faculty member. Students have the power to start any team they would like.

Regardless, representation of these sports would provide students another opportunity to socialize with people of similar interests and get involved in physical activity to help them relieve college stress.