Official club status denied

AMS won’t ratify CrossFit; Athletics and Recreation prioritizes paid programming

CrossFit Queen’s is still in limbo.

The organizers of the burgeoning student fitness initiative were notified last week that they won’t be ratified as a club through the AMS. The student government will instead support them in renewed negotiations with Queen’s Athletics and Recreation.

CrossFit organizers Callum Owen, Storm Patterson and Alex Wilson had hoped to gain official AMS club status after talks fell through with Athletics and Recreation in early February. They initially organized group workouts at the ARC starting in January, but were ordered to stop.

They’ve been trying to secure permanent workout space on campus since September.

The AMS’ decision not to ratify CrossFit was made in accordance with the Memorandum of Understainding — an agreement stipulating that fitness-based clubs should operate under Athletics and Recreation.

“By going through the agreement we have with Athletics more thoroughly, we realized we’re not really supposed to sanction athletics-related groups,” said Tristan Lee, AMS vice president of operations. “We don’t really have the resources to support a very athletic-oriented group, whereas Athletics obviously does.”

Lee was involved in a series of meetings with the CrossFit organizers throughout the latter part of the second semester, along with AMS Clubs Manager Jeffrey McCarthy and incoming Vice President of Operations Nicola Plummer. According to Lee, the AMS is currently working to arrange a preliminary meeting with Athletics and Recreation.

“Now that we’re well aware that we won’t be able to [ratify CrossFit], we’re going to do everything that we possibly can to ensure that we get support from Athletics — where it should come from,” he said.

The CrossFit organizers are waiting for that meeting to pursue any further action.

Owen told the Journal in early February that the group stopped organizing formal workouts to meet the demands of ARC staff.

Now, they’re hoping to reach an official agreement with Athletics and Recreation.

“We’d love to be able to have very level-head, logical discussions with them, and for them to support what we want to do,” Owen said. “I think our model fits in perfectly with the [A&R] club model.”

Before scrapping the organized workouts, the organizers said they regularly drew 30 to 40 participants per morning session. Over 570 people are currently part of the CrossFit Queen’s Facebook group.

“I actually feel like we’ve let a lot of people down on a personal level by starting this group up, getting so many people excited and committing to people that we’d provide this for them — and then not being able to,” Owen said.

According to Wilson, the group could have an official CrossFit program in place by summer if a settlement is reached in the coming weeks.

“We’re waiting with bated breath at this point,” he said.

Marg Jones, Manager of Recreation and Sports Clubs for Athletics and Recreation, said she hadn’t been in touch with the CrossFit organizers or the AMS.

In lieu of pursuing a formalized CrossFit club, Athletics and Recreation plans to implement a new Fitness & Wellness program — an expansion of their current “Fitness Boot Camp,” whose prices range from $75 to $127 for ARC members.

According to Jones, the new program will focus on advanced fitness training for men and women, up to a maximum class size of 35.

“We feel that that’s really going to meet the needs of that type of participants,” she said.

In addition to safety and liability concerns, Jones said that licensing issues would inhibit the establishment of a potential CrossFit club.

“Nobody’s allowed to use the CrossFit name. That’s the other piece that these guys don’t get,” she said. “That term is owned — it’s a patented term, and nobody is allowed to use that without paying dearly.

“[The CrossFit organizers] have great intentions, but there are rules and regulations around how you have to do things.”

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