Greek Pusher Restrictions have been a hot topic of late and Sweepstakes will be having a formal discussion this Saturday at 1:00pm. We will have some alumni in attendance and we would like to have your input if you are not able to join us in person this weekend.

Please comment below with your opinions about these issues.

Questions that will be covered during this meeting:

  • What are the pros and cons?
  • How many non-Greek pushers would it take to no longer be seen as the Greek organization’s team?
  • What are the differences between Greek and Independent Teams?
  • What is the effect on both Greek and Independent teams?
  • How does it help/harm the organizations/Buggy as a whole?

Given some recent trends, sweepstakes has a renewed vigor in their focus on increased participation and we would like to assist them in any and every way we can.

13 thoughts on “Saturday Rules Amendment Discussion – Greek Restrictions”

  • I guess from where I sit, and it sounds like there are different opinions on this, but I’ll share my perspective. If Greek folks want to have a team with both Greek and non-Greek members that there’s an easy way to do that: Make a new independent team and invite your brothers/sisters. See fishing club.

    So to answer your questions:

    1. I don’t see the point? There’s an easy way for greeks to make a non-greek team as it is.
    2. Just one
    3. That’s really up to the Greek teams to decide why and how they’re different, and if that merits being a greek team vs an offshoot independent. Maybe one difference is that greek orgs can conscript their members into service, which is a valuable tool that independents don’t have.
    4. Letting independents on to greek teams makes the whole point of greek and non-greek kind of moot, right? Maybe we just get rid of the whole distinction and make ALL buggy teams receive the same benefits from the school. Greek, non-greek, SDC. Give everyone the same funding and resources and governing rules. Having differences between them makes no difference.

    5. I think muddling the concept of a “greek” team doesn’t really bring any benefit, except to allow well funded greek orgs to recruit high potential students from the general pool at the detriment of the other organizations. Perhaps bigger reform to team structure would be better, not a cherry picked benefit to the greek orgs.

    Maybe on Saturday we should meet to discuss putting all the teams on equal footing.

    • definitely unbiased max says:

      I’ll reply to each of your answers out of order.

      4. I also believe that putting all buggy teams on the same level is the end goal.
      5. You use the phrase “well funded greek teams” to make your point as if “well funded independent teams” don’t exist. I’ll assure you, they do. I welcome a bigger reform, but I think this would be part of that reform anyways. Maybe baby steps are good so teams can adjust more organically.
      1 and 2 and 3. Removing this restriction can be considered one baby step in the right direction of putting all buggy teams on the same level. “The point” is that plenty of greek students and alums like the idea of supporting their team, and not necessarily some semi-affiliated ‘independent’ entity. Sure, there may be some cases of independents losing prospects to Greek teams, but this addresses the chicken and egg of the “Greek org trying to recruit for buggy” problem wherein the org currently cannot share the buggy experience as part of the recruitment process. And I would argue that this change benefits the buggy community as a whole by getting otherwise uninvolved people into the sport. I could go on about how I think buggy involvement is on a downturn, but I’ll let the trend of fewer Greek teams vying for trophies in the past few years speak for itself.

      • Definitely not Connor says:

        No one cares who participates in rolls, it’s just raceday where affiliation is required. Buggy can be shared as part of recruitment because, as far as I know, Greek recruitment doesn’t happen during carnival.

        • Definitely unbiased says:

          Well, considering how probably >70% of Greek recruitment happens in the fall and is during the first 3 weeks of school, it’d be hard to actually incorporate a real Buggy experience (i.e. going to rolls) into recruitment/rush since rolls don’t start until mid-late September.

          Of course we could push for getting fall rolls permits earlier in the year…….

          • I think more rolls earlier in the year would be great. More folks out at fall rolls for greek recruitment would be good for all teams, and give greek orgs a chance to recruit with the buggy experience. More rolls means safer buggy.

            Is the number of rolls limited by funding for sweepstakes, or by teams’ wanting some start up time at the start of the semester?

          • Definitely unbiased says:

            My feeling is that the funding for sweepstakes isn’t a huge issue, I mean if we started rolls earlier in the fall, we could end rolls earlier in the fall too (less short daylight super cold fall rolls).

            I think the bigger issue is the teams (and maybe Sweepstakes) wanting some startup time to get going. As it is now, independents and Greeks tend to recruit mechs, pushers, and drivers before rolls so that they are at least reasonably up to speed by first rolls (and so they can maximize # of rolls for new drivers in the fall).

            I think that since general recruitment and interest in buggy is now a bigger issue than new drivers getting a few more days of fall rolls that we should indeed push for earlier first fall rolls. I agree that having much earlier fall rolls would allow rolls to become part of the recruiting process, which should be good for independents and Greeks alike.

            Heck, we could even have a one-off rolls way early in the fall, like one Saturday the first weekend of September, which would serve exclusively as a recruiting event. Then resume fall rolls as usual 3 weeks later in mid-late September. At least then you could give potentially interested students a real taste of Buggy while they are still deciding which clubs/orgs/activities they want to try out.

          • Buggy participation is falling, but I don’t think its necessarily because of something buggy is doing. CMU is harder than ever, and waking up at 4:30 on the weekends can be difficult for a lot of the student body. Booth is more popular than ever at carnival, and doesn’t require a year of getting little sleep… so we have a lot of competition. How can we reduce the burden on the student to participating in buggy? Our sport should be as accessible as reasonable and fair.

            One idea for spring recruitment for frats would be a waiver, to be approved under the discretion of sweepstakes, certifying that they have no other capable pushers to fill the team and that that pusher has not pushed for any other team at rolls during the year. This way you help open up recruitment for frats in case of emergency while preventing the poaching that some independents are worried about.

            I think your idea of having a one off recruiting rolls strikes a good balance of helping folks recruit and not putting too much stress on the teams to be up every weekend.

            One thing that might help is working with phipps to push rolls an hour later in the morning, but bless their hearts they don’t like buggy.

  • How many fraternities are left on campus? How many of those participate in buggy? I was in school way back in ’98 – ’02 and my impression is that fraternities have declined dramatically in their presence at CMU. I mean that not just as buggy organizations, but as student groups. I get the impression that there are fewer fraternities and far fewer fraternity brothers. Can someone with a closer view confirm or contradict that?

    I ask because the current rules on participation were created in a certain environment. The current environment may be so different that the rules are no longer reasonable or necessary.

    I’m not totally certain the participation rules were ever necessary. As far as I know, women’s teams have always operated under the same participation rules whether fraternities or independents and I haven’t seen evidence of that helping or harming fraternities. If the participation rules changed for the men’s competition, I think some people would be surprised at how little it mattered.

    • definitely unbiased max says:

      There are something like 11 fraternities on campus, I think? Only 5 do buggy: SAE, SigEp, SigNu, Pike, PhiDelt (PhiDelt joined recently and AEPi dropped out even more recently).

      I also think it won’t end up mattering too much. That’s a little hard for me to say since I’ve been lobbying for it. Nevertheless, I think where it really can shine is to help struggling Greek orgs keep their buggy team(s) afloat. If we just stand back and let teams die out then Buggy will devolve from a yearly competition into a year-by-year “can SDC break their record (again)?”
      I might argue that this is already happening.

  • To talk on the Greeks creating an Independent organization, it is really not feasible. There is a recognition process that takes a few months where you have to prove to the COSO (committee of student organizations) why your organization is different than other organizations on campus. They do this to ensure that the school is not funding multiple orgs that effectively serve the same purpose. Fringe, CIA, Spirit and APEX are the independent orgs currently funded through stu gov (i forget the exact name of the org that funds them) while SDC has their own funding structure, that was not public as of 2015. All of those orgs have successfully created their own niche (you could argue APEX and CIA are basically the same in intention, but we presented ourselves to be different enough to receive recognition). They fought us the whole time due to not wanting to fund another buggy organization, but due to us taking over Pioneers and keeping the number of buggy teams funded at the same number (4) it was able to work out.
    Joining a pre-existing org to run a buggy team like Pike with Fishing Club last year is more reasonable. But you have to find a willing organization and deal with the lack of brand exposure for your fraternity.
    I like the suggestion of allowing the Greek organizations to have a limited amount of non-greek pushers on their rosters. For a small fraternity like Sig Nu, they have a very limited talent pool to pull from which limits their ability to not only come out for rolls but to compete come race day. But then again I am for any changes that will lead to a spread of competition across multiple teams. 2015 may have been a slow raceday but was by far the most exciting, knowing there were multiple players on both the mens and women’s side of the competition. This is what grows competition, knowing you can come in and have a chance.
    One thing I feel could help buggy would be a shift to having more push practices/midnight rolls, specifically in the fall. This would get pushers out to buggy without needing them to get up at 6am and would get earlier exposure to buggy in the school year. When I was on campus there were a lot of kids much faster than myself (I pushed A team for Apex 2 times) who did not push for any buggy team and the biggest gripe I heard was “I don’t do mornings”.

  • I agree current rules were written at a time when the campus environment and the Greek place in it were very different.
    If relaxing the membership rules will increase involvement in buggy, then I’m all for it. The rules can always be revised again in the future if the feared competitive imbalance occurs.

    Booth has separate categories for Greek & Independent, but buggy does not. I suspect some Greek teams will choose to keep their A team all-brothers, so the record book will need an asterisk to distinguish PiKA A (all-Pikes) from PiKA A (partly-Pike).

    Each team has a personality that appeals to a different audience. There’s plenty of people who wouldn’t find any of the independents appealing. If the Greeks pick up some of those people and get them into buggy, everyone benefits. The women’s field has always been unrestricted, and yet not very many switch teams, so I doubt that we’d see much of a free-agent effect in the men’s field either.

    The obvious related issue of whether Greeks can get funding is a matter for the people footing the bill – the current students & their gov’t. On the one hand, splitting the pot more ways will hurt the current independents. But if the number of students involved in buggy goes up, Buggy as a whole should get a bigger slice of the activities fee.

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