Starting a Team Part 1 – From an Idea to University Recognition

Written by Kevin Frye

Hello, my name is Kevin Frye and I am the captain of the Dodgeball Club at Ball State University. Just to give some background information on myself, I was a transfer student from The University of Kentucky to Ball State at the beginning of my sophomore year due to changing majors and other decisions. Playing that single year at UK inspired me to find some way to start a team at Ball State since dodgeball became my life and I couldn’t lose that, and I had no idea where to start. So, going in chronological order from forming the idea to achieving university recognition, I will lead you through what I did to provide you with an idea of what I did if you are a contemplating starting a team.

Contact Recreation Department and The Office of Student Life

Since dodgeball is categorized as an athletic team you must be in contact with both the recreation department along with student life. This step should be started early spring to get a head start on all the things you will have to do (also rec/student life do not meet in the summer) so the earlier before the summer you get started the better. That way once the fall semester starts you can start practices. With these first meetings the topics of the club constitution, club name, the form to organize, limitations for first year clubs, the league affiliation (National Collegiate Dodgeball Association), etc. Constantly be asking questions on what you need to do (since every university is different). Since the constitution is the most important part, there will be many more meetings set with the Rec. Dept. just to cover what needs changed on the constitution. Take note that the university you’re affiliated with may have a certain way they want the constitution written, so The Office of Student Life will assist you on getting the proper template. To give you an idea on the time spent, I put about 10 hours of time into my constitution with about 6 revision meetings. Once the constitution is finalized, you may have to set another meeting with the recreation board (student life/rec. dept.) where your constitution will be voted on to be approved. If you take your time and follow everything as stated, you should have no problems with getting approved.

Find a Faculty Advisor

Ask the question – What professors within my major do I have good relations with? Being a biology major myself, I asked a biology professor (I know very well) if he would be interested. Since we have good relations in the department, he will be a valuable resource when it comes to recruiting new members, sponsorships, and other dodgeball related issues. Your advisor will also fill a form out which is 1 of 2 items that has to be completed in order to become a recognized organization.

Sign Up for a “New Organization Meeting”

The Office of Student Life sets these training sessions for prospective students interested in starting a club/organization to provide information. Personally, I did not have to attend one since I met so many times with the Rec. Dept. so that requirement was waived for me.

Fill out an “Intent to Organize Form”

Once your constitution is approved, student life will provide you with a link to fill out an intent to organize form. This basically goes through and asks for a small list of interested students, contact information, a place to upload your constitution, faculty advisor information, and other club information. This form takes some time, so make sure everything is perfect.

Recruitment (Wave 1)

Recruitment is the most challenging step. So, while in the midst of becoming approved, take some time to get a small group of dedicated people together so you can start training them with NCDA rules and gameplay. These members can be acquired through Facebook class pages, flyers, and word of mouth. To me, word of mouth was most successful at this point. You do have to be careful with what you put online/on flyers since you technically aren’t affiliated with the university yet so just throw out the simple question – “Anyone interesting in a college dodgeball team?” Simple as that, people will start messaging you. In the you you’ll probably have a firm 5 dedicated people out of 25 inquiries.

Additional Thoughts

I didn’t mention it earlier, but making relations with other NCDA teams is also very important. They can provide you with more resources and tips on getting your team started (especially the younger teams). As stated before, constantly asking questions to the Rec. Dept., Student Life, and the NCDA will help you through the process of becoming approved. I hope this article helps prospective students/universities looking to form a dodgeball team. Also, I plan on writing a second article (Part 2) covering everything after university recognition. Those topics being: more recruitment, setting practices, financials, sponsorships, tournaments, etc. If anyone has any questions or would like more detail on a topic feel free to email me at kfrye@bsu.edu.

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