UNIVERSITY INVOLVEMENT IN WNBL EVER INCREASING
Universities around Australia are playing a significant role in the 2015/16 Wattle Valley WNBL competition, forming partnerships with a number of our WNBL clubs.
Sydney University and University of Canberra currently hold the licences of the Flames and Capitals respectively, while James Cook University and Deakin University are the naming rights partners of the JCU Townsville Fire and Deakin Melbourne Boomers.
Latrobe University are major partners of the Bendigo Spirit, also adding to the list of university partnerships in the WNBL, so what’s behind the trend?
The benefits don’t just include financial support to the clubs, the partnership provides an endless amount of opportunities for both the clubs and the universities.
As WNBL athletes, this alignment gives them an opportunity to receive a tertiary education with the flexibility they require as professional athletes.
And as for the universities, being connected with professional sporting clubs gives their students the chance to dip their toes in the working landscape through internships, work experience and voluntary roles.
Photo : Sydney University
Deakin Melbourne Boomers General Manager Justin Nelson expresses that Melbourne’s partnership with Deakin has been most successful, and helped them evolve across a number of important areas.
“The ability for us to offer genuine avenues into higher learning, especially at a leading university offering sports management, exercise, nutrition and science, is critical for where we are taking our business and what we want to offer current and future players,” Nelson said.
JCU Townsville Fire General Manager Richard Goodbody reiterated the importance universities play in supporting WNBL clubs.
“As naming rights partner of the JCU Townsville Fire, from a financial point of view it’s a great impact, but we’re also working with JCU across a whole range of initiatives including how we can look at expanding our footprint outside of Townsville and into the North Queensland community.
“We’re working with 80 students across three JCU campuses which are Townsville, Cairns and Singapore, and we’re looking at ways in which we’re able to grow our business and give tangible work experience to the JCU students,” Goodbody said.
Katherine Rickard is the University of Canberra’s General Manager of Sport, and responsible for the day-to-day operations of the University of Canberra Capitals. She believes the partnership has been beneficial for both organisations, in terms of the “brand promotion and exposure across ACT and Australia, as well as the opportunities for student interns and placements.”
Rickard also emphasised that forming an alliance with the Capitals adds a high performance element to the University of Canberra’s aspirations of becoming a leading sports university in Australia.
Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness’ Executive Director Rob Smithies added some light as to why the universities take pride in their alignment with the WNBL clubs.
“The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have been an integral part of sport at the university for 13 years. We are committed to investing into female sport where many other organisations don’t. The chance for some of the athletes to gain an education whilst also playing elite sport is a unique one, and one which we’re very proud to offer.
“It isn’t so much a partnership; it’s something that is part of our DNA. The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames offer so much to the university community and the community at large. We offer entertainment, education, elite sport, administration, coaching opportunities and a lot more.”
The WNBL is keen to build upon this success as stated by WNBL General Manager, Paul Maley.
“When you think about the fact that in the WNBL we have a large number of globally elite young athletes who are real role models for young people and are striving to both educate themselves and compete in one of the best leagues in the world it makes a great deal of sense for universities to align with WNBL teams,” Maley said.
“On the flip-side, the ability for WNBL players to gain an education and be a part of the university system is obviously something that we as a league want to provide for our athletes.
“Wouldn’t it be great if, over time, we were able to build the type of support and atmosphere commonly seen in US colleges.”
Original Article : http://wnbl.com.au/university-involvement-in-wnbl-ever-increasing/