How CUC Athletic Teams Fundraise for Their Season


Photo courtesy of @cucwball on Instagram

CUC women’s basketball team take a team photo prior to working the concession stand at the football home opener on September 3, 2022

Carter Gledhill, Editor-in-Chief

Athletic teams at Concordia University Chicago have long put in work off the field to ensure they can have the season they want.

NCAA Division III athletic institutions don’t grant athletic-based scholarships or have large athletic program budgets compared to Division I schools. As a result, teams must raise funds themselves in order to purchase  athletic gear or travel to destination tournaments or competitions.

“We’re proud of the athletic teams here a CUC,” said CUC assistant athletic director Janet Wolbert. “As a former college athlete, participating in collegiate athletics is one of the most enriching and exciting experiences a college student can have.”

CUC currently has 19 athletic teams: nine men’s teams and ten women’s teams. Because teams like STUNT, Cheer, and Dance are not classified as NCAA sports, CUC has 17 NCAA-sanctioned teams. That puts CUC right in line with other Division III institutions, where the average college also has 19 teams.

Division III institutions share a $35.3 million budget between their 439 member schools. The NCAA uses approximately $30 of that budget to sponsor 28 sports championships throughout the school year. Baseball and football receive the most funding with $2.7 million and $2.3 million each.

Colleges use this money to help sponsor teams and support the operating costs at their institutions. While it seems like a substantial budget, this is on 3.18% of NCAA operation costs.

Although Wolbert did not specify the exact amount of CUC’s budget, she says it’s enough for teams to operate comfortably, while also making improvement to CUC athletic facilities.

That budget still leaves several teams at CUC looking for alternative funding sources so that their Division III athletic experience resembles Division I and II institutions. Here’s a glimpse at how some teams at CUC fundraise for their season’s expenses.


CUC baseball fundraises the most out of the athletic teams. Players fundraise for an apparel pack, which includes travel clothes, polos, apparel, and other equipment. The team also travels to Indianapolis, Indiana, Danville, Kentucky, and a spring break trip to Auburndale, Florida. This is the most out-of-state travel for any CUC team, which runs up a substantial bill of hotel, bus, and other travel expenses The team also provides a snack table at every game, so players can fuel up and stay hydrated throughout the season.

“It’s a big ask from our guys to raise that kind of money,” said baseball head coach Kolin Connor. “I tell our guys that every penny is given back to the program and them to make their experience even better.”

Conner says there are several ways his players are able to raise at least $1,500 each before the season begins in March. “The easiest way is our 100-inning game” said Conner.

Following their fall season, the team plays a 100-inning 16-inch softball game in the outfield of their field. The players and coaches take part in the marathon of baseball that lasted roughly five hours, until the night sky made it difficult to see the ball.

Players also can sell half-page or full-page advertisements in the team’s media guide, and tickets to the preseason banquet in February. The team also works V.I.P. valet events in Chicago for the months leading up to the season. “We make roughly $11 an hour plus tips,” said senior pitcher Chandler Kerr. “It’s easy work, and I get to drive some sweet cars too.”

Women’s Basketball

The women’s basketball typically team takes an out-of-state pre-season trip each year to play two to three games prior to their conference schedule. They recently traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado and played Colorado College and Sul Ross State University on November 11 and 12.

The players are expected to each raise $500 to $600 to pay for airfare, lodging, and snacks throughout the season. “Being able to travel with the team at the beginning of the season is a great way to build team chemistry,” said senior Bailey Steinkamp. “I don’t think the cost is unreasonable, since we do have expenses that pop-up in the season or stuff we buy, such as t-shirts and meals.”

The team holds an annual raffle which included TV’s, gift baskets, and gift cards to local restaurants. Single tickets could be purchased for $1 each, 6 for $5, or 12 for $10.

The women’s basketball team’s biggest fundraising comes in the Fall, when players and coaches run the concessions stands at CUC home football games. With catered Chick-fil-A sandwiches, along with other tailgate foods, candy, and drinks, Steinkamp says this the concessions sales add up to a big reason why they can take their out-of-state trip.


The CUC softball team usually travels to Clermont, Florida during spring break. In addition, they raise funds for team apparel and gear such as bats, softballs, and field maintenance equipment.

Each player is expected to pull in $600 for the trip and the team apparel. Senior shortstop Becky Pieroni says she’s grateful for the number of fundraising opportunities players have. “It’s honestly a blessing being able to raise nearly all if not the full fundraising amount each season,” said Pieroni.

The team hosts weekend hitting, pitching, and instructional camps for youth and high school players, which is anywhere from $40 to $50 per player. CUC players work the camps, and a portion of the funds from each camp goes towards their individual total. Players also work at Chicago Bears home games as ushers and ticket scanners, earning $11 an hour.

Men’s Lacrosse

This is the first season in program history that the men’s lacrosse team will take a trip outside of the Midwest for any games. The team plans to travel to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina and Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina on March 4 and 8.

In order to raise the necessary funds, the team hosted a two-hour-long telethon on November 11, which raised $3,541.93. “I never thought it would be as big of a hit as it turned out to be,” said freshman midfield Sebastian Miller. “It was fun answering phones and participating in something new and unique.”

The lacrosse team also joins the softball team at Soldier Field throughout the Chicago Bears’ season to work as ushers and ticket takers. Second-year head coach Scott Gwyn says the team is still looking for new ways to increasing fundraising and improve the player’s experience.