College sports draining members’ funds

Not everyone can afford to be Vanburgh

There’s a sport for everyone at York, from football and lacrosse to kendo (look it up) and skydiving. Everyone can get involved. Or can they?

Despite Vanbrugh’s recent referendum voting yes to free sport, the cost of sport in other colleges can be an issue for potential members.

There is an increasing number of “elite” sports clubs, with sky high membership, kit or even single session fees that are pushing members out.


Those high costs make him want to quit

The Boat Club

Predictably, The Boat Club came out as the most expensive club, costing just under £1000 annually. How the hell does it cost a grand?

A senior rower needs to fork out

  • £210 just for membership
  • £33 British Rowing Membership
  • £50 (at least) on university kit to allow them to race
  • £231 for an “encouraged” gym membership on campus
  • £210 (approx) for a training weekend in Henley. And for the first time this year, a training weekend in Portugal, which rowers are “strongly encouraged” to attend (rumoured to cost another £600)

And apparently it could be worse. The Boat Club holds fundraising events throughout the year for group equipment like boats and trailers.

Row, row, row your boat after you've forked up a grand to do so

Row, row, row your boat after you’ve forked up a grand to do so


Another pricey sport is cheerleading.

  • £85 annual membership fee for one squad (and even more for multiple squads)
  • £20 Athletic Union fee
  • £100 cost on compulsory uniform, it’s a big upfront fee.

But, the club do try and fund-raise to reduce the cost for individual members.

Second year Pom Dancer Rachael Cole said:

“The membership fee is definitely worth it because it pays for accommodation, travel and competition fees up to three times a year.

“The price could be higher but we have fund-raising events such as last year’s bag-packing in Morrisons which subsidises the cost.”

That is rather impressive

That is rather impressive

Other sports manage to keep their membership and kit fees low, but charge a lot for each individual session, due to the venue.

Polo, a typically elite sport, only has a £20 annual membership, which seems pretty reasonable until you consider that each session costs £30.

The club holds three sessions a week, and whilst the website claims members don’t have to attend all of them – it could get pricey if they did.

Similarly, clay pigeon shooting has only a £10 membership fee, but charges £22 per session, and horse riding’s membership is £30 membership fee for the year, whilst each lesson costs £20.

Thankfully there are many more reasonably priced sports for students to enjoy.

YUSU has said, York has the “2nd best college sport programme in the UK”. Let’s just hope the colleges don’t start charging for sport.