While they might not be able to cast an “expelliarmus” spell to disarm their opponent, beginning next fall, UNC Quidditch is set to be named an official club sport.
The team, on track to be the Carolinas Quidditch Conference’s regular season champions and North Carolina Division champions for the second official year in a row, will now be headed to the Quidditch World Cup for the first time come April.
As a student organization, the team has the right to reserve campus facilities and pay for the opportunity to host guests. But student organizations are the last in line to reserve practice fields, and as a result the team practices from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Dylan Meyer, president of the organization, listed inconvenient practice times as one of the main reasons the team decided to apply for club status, as well as a need for improved support from the University.
“It gives us direct access to more medical resources if anyone gets hurt. Rather than having to go through campus health, we can go straight to sports med without a referral,” he said.
Clay Ballard, vice president of the team, added that club sport status would help the team with recruitment and publicity.
“It really kind of legitimizes ourselves as a sport,” he said. “And so when we’re recruiting for next fall, we can tell people that they’re going to be playing on a club sport.”
Meyer added that Campus Recreation informational materials dispersed to freshmen at the beginning of the year will now include UNC Quidditch as a sports club.
“They do paid advertising for us,” he said.
Though approved this year, the Quidditch team was initially denied when it applied for sports club status last year.
“Some of the reservations sports clubs had was the physicality, basically the dangers inherent in a sport that is so young that its rules haven’t settled into what they should be appropriately,“ Meyer said.
Other schools around the country have had similar concerns, and now that UNC’s organization has been accepted as a club sport, it is to serve as a tool for the International Quidditch Association with regard to rule writing.
The IQA is a nonprofit established in 2010, which governs Quidditch regulations and hosts 25 annual events including the World Cup. It plans to use UNC as a means to develop rules that better ensure athlete safety.
“What the IQA is wanting from this is to be able to say UNC sports med and UNC sports clubs accept this,” Meyer said.
Max Miceli, a captain who is also sports writer for The Daily Tar Heel, said the team is unique.
“I’ve been a part of football teams and lacrosse teams and they all say, ‘Oh it’s a family-like atmosphere,’ but no it’s not quite as much of a family-like atmosphere,” he said.
“We’re constantly hanging out, and we’re constantly around each other.”
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