The Associated Students of UNM rallied behind the women’s rugby team Wednesday and unanimously approved its more than $15,000 semester appropriation.
The $15,586 given to the club will cover the price of a cross-country trek for its national tournament and other away games. The figure will be one of the largest of the semester, said Sen. Francine Briones, chair of the Finance Committee.
The women’s team was approved for nearly $4,000 more than the men’s team, which received $11,800 earlier this month.
“It’s good to see we have the full support of the ASUNM Senate,” said Anissia Savic, the Women’s Rugby Club treasurer who presented the funding request to the Senate during the hearing.
The team garnered the support of 13 players — which was pointed out numerous times — to hear the debate over their appropriation.
“The commitment of the core group of players is amazing,” said Gabriella Rivera, president of the Women’s Rugby Club.
Over the last few years, the men’s rugby program has dramatically increased its win-loss record, said Sean Summer, president of the Men’s Rugby Club. The women’s team has also been improving through the years. Since its founding in 2000, the women’s rugby team has graduated 14 All-Americans and an Olympian.
Team leadership said the high funding approved by senators is a necessity. Because the programs are competing at a national level, they require more and more funds, the team argues. Increased national competitiveness has required more road games, which don’t come cheap.
The men’s team was looking to be funded for seven road games, which, according to their appropriation, can range in cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000.
That amount, according to former and current senators, is too high to fund consistently.
Rivera and Summer understand the limitations of ASUNM funding and are hopeful to receive more support as their program grows.
“We function as a varsity team without any of the administrative support,” Rivera said.
Last semester, ASUNM approved a resolution that encouraged the Athletics Department to consider varsity status for the two clubs. That effort didn’t come to fruition.
Lack of administrative funding has motivated both teams to come up with other forms of support.
Over the summer, the teams amassed $11,000 in sponsorships and other forms of fundraising like community service and bake sales. The team spent hundreds of hours garnering the support of the broader Albuquerque community, said Rivera, adding, “We’ve done as much fundraising as we can.”
Brendon Gray is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers ASUNM. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @notgraybrendon.