UConn is ‘passing’ on a wheelchair basketball team

STORRS —  Former UConn student and professional wheelchair basketball player, Ryan Martin has been pushing for the program on campus.

In November, the “Ryan Martin Foundation” raised $45,000 to purchase specialized wheelchairs and equipment to set up an adaptive sports program at UConn.

However,  administrators passed up on the opportunity in February. UConn’s spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said the university is not in a financial position to start up a new UConn athletics team.

Reitz released the following statement:

While we aren’t in a financial position to create a new UConn Athletics team, we’re glad to work with students who’d like to establish a UConn Club Sports wheelchair basketball team.

Establishing a club sport team is an ideal way to get a wide range of students involved, gain recognition, and get institutional financial support as a recognized student organization.

While the student participation wasn’t enough to warrant creation of a new UConn Athletics team, establishing a wheelchair basketball club as one of UConn’s varied club sport teams could be a good alternative to draw enthusiastic participation.

These are competitive teams that play against other universities. Offering this activity as a club sport is an approach that’s also working well at many other institutions nationwide.

UConn is also launching new adaptive sport programs starting in fall 2018 to help ensure that its recreation programs are inclusive and welcoming across the broad spectrum of our student body.

The offerings will vary and are still being determined, but wheelchair basketball is a certainly one that will get high consideration along with others like seated volleyball, swimming, adaptive rock climbing, and others.

We’ll be working with the Husky Adaptive Sport Club and the Department of Educational Leadership in the Neag School of Education as we roll out those programs and set up practices to help ensure their success.