By Devin Jones
Many early mornings, Ryerson students can find Keith Capstick on campus selling Rams baseball caps in the hopes of raising money for his team.
“Selling the hats just allow us to build the program, and make the future years cost less for the players” said Capstick, a catcher for the Ryerson Rams baseball team. “We’re selling our hats in the hopes of raising enough money to build our program financially, and end this fiscal year in the green.”
The baseball team, which just wrapped up its inaugural season this past fall under the guidance of head coach Ben Rich, is a Ryerson team that isn’t funded by the university because it is classified as a club.
“We’re currently on a two-year probation period,” said Rich. “We must show [Ryerson] Athletics that we can be a financially self-sustaining team, and a feasible team in terms of competitiveness and year-over-year student interest.”
Rich also said that, at the end of the two-year probation period, he and his staff would have a conversation regarding the future relationship between athletics and the team.
Each player on the team has been asked to sell five hats for $30 each, with 24 players on the team, the Rams have already generated $1,000 dollars profit for the club. However, this is only one part of the baseball team’s bigger strategy in terms of fundraising.
“We’re brainstorming right now, definitely in the spring we plan on having some student nights, as well as more pub nights like the one we did last spring,” said outfielder Jason Te
The Rams also have a raffle contest in the works, with big name prizes coming from West Jet Airlines, who have donated tickets to anywhere in Canada. As well, a variety of smart phones and tablets have been donated for the raffle.
“You know, I think fundraising is a part of the job description, it comes with the territory,” said Rich. “We knew it was something we had to do, and it’s something you plan for as a coach. The more money we can pull in, the less money the guys have to pay to play.”
The Rams, in their first season, received a substantial amount of funding from the Project-Funds Allocation Committee For Students, otherwise known as P-FACS, a Ryerson school funding committee, that has covered most of the cost of our uniforms.”
All of the fundraising the team has been doing to lower player costs has garnered a sense of responsibility and team camaraderie. So instead of the players just playing baseball, they now have a sense of ownership surrounding their team.
“The fundraising has added to the team bonding that’s for sure,” said pitcher Toby Kerr. “You go out and sell the raffle tickets with your teammates, it definitely adds a sense of responsibility.”
The baseball caps, which are flex fit, are exclusive to the team and cannot be found in any stores on campus. They began selling in mid September, and will continue to sell until the team has run out.
“These hats are exclusive to us,” said Rich. “We went out and got them ourselves, they’re a replica of what the guys wear on the field.”
The Rams face a multitude of expenses throughout the season, from the cost of renting fields, to the cost of transportation and paying umpire fees; all of which is paid for by players fees and all of the fundraising the team plans on doing.
“We’re playing baseball at the highest level possible, but we’re not receiving the funding for it,” said Kerr. “We don’t have full varsity team status, and so we’re facing a unique situation.”