What do the Ikey Tigers mean to you?
Distant memories from a long time ago?
A licence for creative behaviour?
Camaraderie and passion?
Rollercoaster emotion from the sidelines?
Place where real life skills are learnt?
Running rugby no matter the cost?
Gritting it through the Green Mile wind and rain?
Best time of your life?
Jubilation of winning against all odds?
Nothing at all?
Setting the scene
Many Ikey Tiger supporters will know that the professional era of rugby has increasingly made it more and more difficult for Ikey Tigers to compete and operate against our rivals. Why, you might ask?
Two interlinked issues stand out. The first is financial resources, the Ikey Tigers have been operating on a fraction of the budget of other major universities and, increasingly, local rivals, and the gap has grown as the next tier of South African rugby has professionali s ed. The second is that UCT’s sport administration is better suited to supporting recreational sporting endeavours than competitive ones. To be frank the combination of these two has been difficult, exasperating and much like operating with both hands tied behind our back.
Development #One – Ikeys to pilot a new UCT sports club governance and management framework
For many years we have been discussing how to improve competitive sport administration with UCT management and stakeholders. These discussions intensified this year and we believe the outcome is a bold step forward by UCT. As a pilot for sports clubs, UCT Rugby Club is now operating under a revised governance framework where we fall under the auspices of the university’s Business Development Unit instead of the Department of Student Affairs. We have reason to believe this is a positive move and will result in a more supportive administrative environment for the needs of competitive (and indeed recreational) rugby. You can read the Vice Chancellor’s full statement here.
It has been a long journey to get to a point where a change of this nature takes place. For those of us at the coalface we are relieved and glad that the VC has heard our pleas and done something to take excellence in sport a little more seriously. If you, like us, believe that sport is a powerful means to transform society, learn life lessons, build character, foster teamwork and grow friendships then we invite you to celebrate this development with us.
Development #Two – A sustainable financial future is in sight
A number of individuals have indicated they are willing to make generous contributions to kick-start an annual supporter-led fundraising effort . I am delighted to announce that an additional R1.3m per year over the next 5 years has been already been pledged , which means we are well on our way to a sustainable, competitive future.
If we are to thrive as a club with a strong sense of purpose we need to significantly build our financial resources. Twenty years ago rugby became a professional sport and since then we have operated almost exclusively through the volunteer contributions of executive committee members, coaches, medics and a small group of passionate supporters.
We are extraordinarily proud of our achievements against all odds in the professional era, but we know that it is time to put in place appropriately funded staff members, increase the number of bursaries we offer and improve our equipment and infrastructure. Our annual budgets have crept upwards over time to just over R6 million, by far the bulk of which is spent on people – bursaries and salaries.
We currently have reasonably secure funding (a mix of commercial income and donations) of around R4 million, leaving us a current gap of nearly R2 million, which we have somehow filled to date through ad hoc contributions in a hand-to-mouth way. We believe that to be sustainable we need to increase this to an annual budget of R9m and have the reassurance that it is secure so that we can make longer term commitments and plan strategically. Most of this additional R3m would go into bursaries and salaries.
Remarkably, this would likely still make us the lowest funded team in Varsity Cup and be a fraction of the budgets of our big rivals. However it is a budget, that, when combined with the Ikeys Spirit, can ensure the Green Mile is filled with the magic of winning running rugby for many years to come.
We accept that the university fiscus is under enormous pressure and will not be able to invest in sport in the way we would like it to in the near future. And that means it is up to us, the supporters and past beneficiaries of UCT Rugby to do something. So, with your help, we are going to.
Why? What’s the big idea?
There are many good reasons to ensure Ikey Tigers goes from strength to strength, but here are the ones that stand out:
1. That young men might experience the camaraderie of university rugby – shaping their character, resolve and ability to contribute positively to society;
2. Ikey Tigers is a club where individuals from all backgrounds meet, become team mates, lifelong friends and celebrate or commiserate matches together – we need clubs like ours nurturing the friendships that will transform our country;
3. Ikeys proudly champion skillful, running rugby and we have a role to play in nurturing top rugby talent for our provincial and national teams; and
4. Because this club meant and possibly still means something to you – give back to give others a great Ikeys play ing experience
How can you help?
Spread the word and consider what you could give or do to help reach our R5m target for 2017. S ection 18A tax certificates are available for all South African-based donations and similar tax rebates are also available for donors in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
As mentioned we already have pledges for over R1m per year for the next 5 years. We have identified a further 70 potential donors among our alumni and friends who we think would be able to take us up to the R4 million per year mark. Once that has been achieved we will make a stronger appeal to our much wider alumni and friend base for the remaining R1 million.
Major fundraising activity will take place between now and 6 October (when our annual dinner will be taking place). During this time please expect a much higher than usual frequency of email communication as we try to keep everyone in the loop. Once the fundraising campaign is completed we will revert to our usual monthly updates.
Want to know more about the vision for the future?
On Thursday 28 September 6:00pm there will be an opportunity for all interested parties to attend a presentation at our refurbished clubhouse on the vision for the future of Ikey Tigers. Please email Kevin Forte on firstname.lastname@example.org if you will be attending. Venue: Neville Isdell Rugby Centre, Upper Campus.
If you would like to make a funding contribution please contact Chris Campbell email@example.com.
Your support is much appreciated as we take Ikey Tigers to new heights.