Roller hockey club faces uphill battle

By Kimberly Haddad

Due to the possibility of student injuries and insurance
liabilities, the roller hockey sports club at Cal Poly Pomona is
facing a great challenge to become a recognized student
organization.

BACKGROUND

The roller hockey sports club started in 1999 and is run by a
handful of students. The club has competed against universities
including: Chico State; Sonoma State; University of Southern
California; University of California, Irvine, among many
others.

The club is on top of the Div. II teams in the Southern
Conference; out of the eight games played, it has won five, lost
one and tied two. It has scored twice as many goals as other teams
have scored against it.

INSURANCE LIABILITY

“At first, [the University] refused to support our club on the
grounds that we are a dangerous sports club and that we’d need some
sort of insurance in order to compete,” said Paul Herrmann, the
roller hockey team captain at Cal Poly Pomona. “The insurance would
cost the team about $3,200 for a year, and we would have to get
that money on our own and out of our pockets on top of traveling
and hotel expenses.”

Herrmann said the league fees for varsity and junior varsity are
a total of $5,750.

Marla Franco, senior coordinator of student life at Cal Poly
Pomona, said the Risk Management Office had worked with a handful
of groups identified as potential sports clubs about a year
ago.

“The Risk Management office went to the university vendors that
they worked with for insurance and was able to obtain an insurance
quote for those students to buy into,” said Franco.

The club had 30 days to decide whether it wanted to purchase the
insurance.

Because the club opted against taking the insurance, the school
put a stop to its registration.

“It would have been to the group’s advantage to have purchased
the insurance as a group, because the cost would have been
lowered,” said Franco.

ALTERNATIVE INSURANCE

The roller hockey club at Cal Poly Pomona claims to have
attained insurance through USA Hockey Inline Insurance, which costs
$30 per person and covers each player for up to $1 million for one
year.

“I argued with Cal Poly Pomona and told them this was all the
insurance we need, and they agreed with me at first,” said
Herrmann. “Then they came back and said they didn’t have enough
space to support our team or enough staff to handle us. They said
maybe when the Recreation Center was built, they can get staff to
support us. There is no reason that all these other schools could
have a hockey team or club and we can’t.”

While the roller hockey get recognition, other state
universities such as Long Beach, Sonoma and Chico provide their
roller hockey teams with funding for equipment and travel.

However, despite the hockey club’s claims, Franco said she never
received confirmation from Risk Management.

“I don’t recall ever having received communication from them
that the Hockey Inline Insurance coverage was efficient or not,”
said Franco. “There were probably three organizations last year,
and this organization was probably one of them that [was] directed
to work with Valerie Eberle, executive director of administrative
affairs, to get an insurance quote.”

Franco said once Eberle received a quote for insurance and one
organization or club pulled out at any point in time, she had to go
back to the drawing board and make the insurance quote for one less
organization.

“So sometimes it makes it difficult,” said Franco. “It’s
basically all or nothing. By purchasing the insurance, the club
would have met the requirements by Risk Management and then we
would have registered them as an official sports club on
campus.”

FIGHT FOR GREEN AND GOLD

“The West Coast Roller Hockey League uses a specific insurance,
and it is way better and way cheaper than any insurance that the
school has ever tried to offer us,” said Herrmann

Herrmann said the team can compete but not on behalf of Cal Poly
Pomona, or it will affect the club’s chances of becoming an
official sports organization in the future.

“They said we can be called the Green Broncos or Pomona, but not
Cal Poly Pomona,” said Herrmann. “That is absolutely pointless.
What’s the point of a whole bunch of students competing against
other schools and teams when we can’t represent our own school? We
just want to play college athletics.”

Herrmann said the club does not need the funding or the staff
because it has been doing just fine on its own. The club wants the
support and approval to play and represent the university.

Although the club has been operating independently and relying
on family members or part-time jobs to compensate the club’s
necessities, there are difficulties in remaining
self-sustained.

“It’s kind of cool that we do it ourselves, but all of these
other schools have the support of their campuses and are funded, so
why can’t we?” said Darrell Mark, a member of the roller hockey
club. “It just gets hard because we’re broke and we’re college
students, but you know, we all find ways and make things happen
because everyone just wants to play. It’s our way of staying
connected to our school.”

A FAMILIAR PLIGHT

This is not the first time a club at Cal Poly Pomona has had
difficulties due to insurance.

In February 2008, the Ridge Runners Ski and Snowboard Club also
faced hardships because it was a sports club with potential risks.
It only receives funding from Associated Students, Inc. for “non
high-risk” items like T-shirts, sweatshirts, banners and stickers,
and is unable to compete on behalf of Cal Poly Pomona.

According to a Risk Management document found on the Cal Poly
Pomona website, the university is concerned about the students’
general liability, physical injuries and possible vehicle injuries
that can occur during travel.

Steve Aguilar, a member and former president of the Ridge
Runners Ski and Snowboard Club, said everything is now based on
providing entertainment for the club’s members.

“We used to have a team with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the
beginning,” said Aguilar. “We would get together and compete as we
had the funding, but we don’t anymore because it’s too expensive
and it’s a high-risk sport.”

Aguilar said the club gets funding from the Educational Interest
Council, but it’s not nearly enough.

“It’s only like $1,000 and we used to get a lot more,” said
Aguilar. “Now we just get most of our revenue for sweatshirts, and
T-shirts and stuff. It’s more of a social club atmosphere than a
sports club atmosphere.”

In April 2009, the Cal Poly Pomona Cycling club, a group with a
30-year history on campus, was also rejected. It used to compete
with schools around the state as well as in Nevada and Arizona.

The club dealt with Executive Order 1006. The order signed by
CSU Chancellor Charles Reed in 2007 requires any student club of an
athletic nature to purchase liability and medical insurance for its
members.

As a result, the club’s funds were frozen, and it was deemed
“high-risk” by the university. Now if the Cycling Club wants to
race, it has to do so on its own.

A CONTINUED STRUGGLE

The Roller Hockey Club is still battling its way toward an
appropriate agreement with the university, but Franco said Cal Poly
Pomona is no longer allowed to re-charter sports clubs on
campus.

“It’s not us, it’s Executive Order 1006,” said Franco. “We
cannot charter them because we do not have a supportive
infrastructure to support them.”

Franco said there have been many clubs that have willingly shown
in writing that they would refrain from competing because once they
include competing in the group, they would have to be defined as a
sports club. The clubs are still able to get together and have
meetings or recruit people of a similar interest in a similar
activity but cannot be recognized as a competitive program.

“There is some promise for re-chartering when the new Recreation
Center is built, though,” said Franco. “Along with a physical
structure, there may be an internal support structure that might be
able to support sports clubs in the future.”

Franco said Campus Recreation, an entity of ASI, is maxed-out in
terms of what it is able to accommodate.

“Perhaps with the building and additional infrastructure and
resources, we can help assist them,” said Franco. “It would be
great to be honest, to have these groups here, fully functioning
with the right insurance and staff to look over them.”

Herrmann, however, is still not satisfied as getting the club
chartered has been a constant struggle.

“I mean, we pay all of the league fees and we all attend Cal
Poly Pomona. Not to mention we could have such a strong team if
people actually knew we had one,” said Herrmann. “This is a really
touchy subject for me, and I am pretty emotional about it because
I’ve been fighting it for years. We all just want to play.”

_ÕåÊ

Roller hockey club faces uphill battle

Pedro Corona / The Poly Post

Roller hockey club faces uphill battle

Roller hockey club faces uphill battle

Pedro Corona / The Poly Post

Roller hockey club faces uphill battle

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