By Jackson Bartlett

Sports are an integral part of the college experience for many students.

When faced with the decision of signing up for athletic activities through this university, students are presented with several options for the type of environment they want to take part in. Two of these atmospheres are juxtaposed against one another: Nevada’s club sports and NCAA ­sanctioned sports.

Each sanction provides a different side of sports for participants, but the situation begs a long­standing question, is one better than the other? A series of interviews with club athletes at Nevada led me to ask this question.

In an interview with senior and Ultimate Frisbee team captain Ryley Hill, he mentioned an aspect of his club sport that set it apart from others under NCAA sanction.

“If you look up any rulebook, the first thing it talks about is called ‘Spirit of the Game’…it’s basically about good sportsmanship, calling your own fouls and being competitive, but also being cooperative with the other team,” Hill said. “That’s what a lot of mainstreamed sports tend to move away from.”

In multiple interactions with Nevada’s club sport athletes, there were references to a looser sense of desire to come out the victor and more of an emphasis on the foundational idea of camaraderie and self-improvement.

The concept of the ‘Spirit of the Game’ that Hill touched upon seems to resound throughout the club world. Participants rely more on self­officiation, community building with both teammates and opponents and the desire to purely enjoy what they do while still working their hardest.

While operating on a stricter basis of officiation, a stricter set of rules and harboring a greater pressure to be the victor at the end of the day, NCAA­ sanctioned sports offer no less benefit, but instead offer a different side of athletic competition.

Some people are inherently driven to compete.

Many personal and family values revolve around the desire to pit oneself against an opponent, be that force another person, team or standing record. NCAA sports provide this outlet, farming the most honed talents and pitting them against those at a similar level of skill.

NCAA sports also present scouting opportunities. Athletes who participate in collegiate athletics are more likely to go on to higher levels.

NCAA ­sanctioned activities also have funding. Money is a crucial part of organizing a sport. Uniforms, facilities, equipment and miscellaneous other benefits rarely come cheaply, and having certain standardized regulations and funding allotments allow universities to provide NCAA athletes with a sizeable amount of necessary things.

Overall, both the club and NCAA­sanctioned sports at Nevada provide opportunities for students to grow and compete. Each facet appeals differently to students, depending on who they are as a person. The key to figuring out which, if any, might be right for you is to go out and try.

Jackson Bartlett can be reached at