UniGames to UniSport Nationals


2017 Western Unigames, Mens Basketball final (placed 1st)

Ebony Garlett, Reporter

UniGames is an age old tradition at most Australian universities, where people go to compete, make friends and meet other university students. The games involve more than 10,000 students from 42 universities across Australia who battle it out in a number of sporting competitions. Some games even involve their university mascots who compete in running races and various sports.

But this year UniGames has made a few changes, not only changing their name, but how you play the game.

They are now referred to as UniSport Nationals, and allow Division 2 teams to compete in the games, giving a larger number of students the opportunity to travel across the country and compete against other universities.

While the change is welcomed by students who have missed out on nationals every year because they didn’t make the first division team, some of the much-loved social aspects of the games will be benched.

In previous years UniGames involved more than one level of competition: states and then nationals.

Before teams could compete against the universities from the Eastern states, they would have to compete with the universities from their home state to make the cut.

The WA UniGames state competition was referred to as ‘Westerns’. It was held annually in Bunbury, and each university teams would battle it out for the chance to compete at the AUS UniGames. Aus UniGames was the national competition for UniGames and was hosted by a new university each year.

Other than competing to be one of the best teams in the State, many students joined teams simply for the social experience.

After a long day of sporting activities, each night would have a social event with a theme attached.  A club would be booked out by the universities with students dressing up to themes such as, Harry Potter, and the ’90s.

With the change from UniGames to UniSport Nationals, state competitions such as WA’s Westerns will no longer go ahead.

Sophie Dragicevich was the captain of the women’s basketball team last year and said she’s upset with the change: “UniGames was for everyone! It was about making friends even if you’re not great at sport … and you’d leave knowing 20-30 more people.

“Cutting out Westerns is the worst part because this was a way that people got to know other uni students from the same state.

“One of the hardest things about university is trying to make friends.”

Nic Gallardo is one of the staff at ECU student activities, who gets competitors and teams ready for UniGames each year.

Gallardo said: “The biggest move is that it’s now called Nationals and it will be more about the sport and less about the social activities that were surrounding it before.”

UniSport Nationals has been broken up into Nationals Division 1 and Nationals Division 2, as well as a number of standalone competitions throughout the year including; Nationals Snow, T20 cricket, 3×3 basketball, triathlon, and many more.

​The UniSport Nationals Division 1 will be held at the Gold Coast, which is now its permanent home. Division 1 flies off to compete on September 22-27. The event will see the top 10 universities come together to compete against the best of the best to gain or retain their championship glory across the 33 competitions offered. Division 2 flies to the Gold Coast on July 1-5. There are no preliminary state games and no social activities planned for students.

​According to Dragicevich: “Now that the UniSport Nationals will always be held in Gold Coast it’s harder for the western states to get over there … at least with Westerns prelims it was a ‘try before you buy’ type thing and now we’re asking players to fork out $1300 to join a team of players they may not even know.”

Responding to the changes, ECU is eliminating three sporting teams.

“They are steering away from sports like athletics that involve only one person,” said Gallardo.

Although UniGames was a great way to meet like-minded people and many students loved the social aspect of the games, the games have attracted some negative press over the past few years.

Allegations of drunken behaviour, rape, drunken injuries, people in comas and people playing on balconies in their hotels, were all associated with the games.

Each university, whether it be at Westerns or at AUS UniGames, had allocated student activity supervisors who would come and tell the students whether they had noise complaints, or complaints about anything else.

With most universities having a rough estimate of 100 students attending these complaints were made several times. Although Gallardo couldn’t disclose why the move from UniGames to UniSport Nationals was made, it’s believed to be for this reason.

Dragicevich explained that the move to cut out social events was “Almost like the uni’s giving up on their students … Although there’s been those problems in the past I don’t see why we all have to suffer.”

She said that this is potentially worse for competitors who wish to enjoy the Gold Coast and must go to events that are not associated with the UniGames, simply because there would not be any activity advisors and support systems to assist anyone who needs help.

Division 1 teams are still taking on players, for more information email [email protected] or head to the Facebook page.