The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Cost of being D-3 athlete


As a Div. III school, UW-Eau Claire is not able to provide any of its athletes with full or even partial scholarships to participate in sports.

Each year, however, hundreds of student athletes sacrifice time, energy, and perhaps even sanity for the love of their game. However, there’s an additional sacrifice that student athletes make which is often overlooked: money.

Between men and women, there are 20 different sports teams at Eau Claire.

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Each sport receives limited funding from the university to pay for things such as entry fees, transportation costs, uniforms and equipment, but it is often up to the athletes themselves to cover the costs associated with their particular sport.

Mat Rieckhoff, a sophomore on the men’s wrestling team, said the average wrestler might spend around $400 in a single season. This number may seem high, but it’s relatively low compared to some other sports.

“Wrestling is a pretty inexpensive sport,” Reickhoff said. “You don’t really need a whole lot.”

He said that as far as equipment goes, it’s up to the wrestlers to purchase their own shoes, headgear and knee pads, which costs about $175 altogether.

In addition to equipment costs, wrestlers pay for their own team apparel, which can run around $125. They must also cover other small costs like snacks, drinks and a weight room pass each season.

For other sports, the start-up cost in one season may be extremely high while following seasons may require almost no expenditures at all.

Senior golfer Emily Swift said that a nice set of golf clubs can cost more than $1,000 but that they last for a while after the initial purchase. She said the same is true for golf shoes, shorts and hats, which cost around $150 total.

“All of our golf balls and golf for the whole year is paid for at Mill Run and Wild Ridge (golf courses),” Swift said. The team also covers the cost of golf bags, uniforms, transportation and meals while on trips, she said.

Many teams hold fundraisers to partially fund their costs. Ryan Vande Linde, a sophomore tennis player, said that the tennis team hosts one event per year.

“It’s a mixed doubles tournament that provides a bit of finance,” he said.

The tennis team pays for tennis balls, but it is up to the athletes to supply their own racket, uniform, shoes, racket string, handle grips and warm-ups, he said. They must also pay for snacks and a weight room pass. This comes out to around $650 in a single year. The rackets, which Vande Linde said cost around $200, represent a large portion of the cost, and do not need to be purchased yearly.

The women’s gymnastics team is able to fund many of their expenditures with fundraisers, said sophomore Michaela McCamey, who won nationals this season on the balance beam.

“We usually have a car wash and garage sale before it gets cold, we sell fan shirts,” McCamey said. “We also make deals with restaurants where we get a certain percentage of the profit they make on a given night.”

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