EUSA Insider:

British Universities and Colleges Sport

Founded: 1919
Current Headquarters: London
Website:                                                                                 Published 11 December 2020

Firstly, for those who do not know, please tell us a bit about your NUSA ...
British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) is a membership-based organisation with charitable status and reinvests all profits back into university sport. It is a body independent of the UK Government and NOC. The organisation’s roots were established in 1919, and now delivers to over 150 member institutions. BUCS operates with approximately 35 staff, with groups working on different strategic directions and the delivery of university sport.

Through sport, BUCS is motivated to enhance people’s lives by adding value and enabling people to reach their potential. Our strategy to achieve this covers the following seven themes; Physical Activity & Health, Social & Recreational Sport, Inter University Competition, Performance Sport, Professional & Workforce Development, Inclusion, Profile & Influence.

BUCS delivers competitive sporting opportunities for students across 52 sports with a range of league and knockout competitions which typically run from October – March, and event-based competitions which run throughout the year.

Can you describe some of the major events your NUSA has hosted in recent years, both national and international?
Every year, BUCS hosts two major domestic events. BUCS Nationals is the largest annual multi-sport event in the United Kingdom. The event brings together eight individual BUCS Championship events at five different venues. Over 5000 students will take part in the event with over 300 officials and volunteers making the sport happen on and off the field of play.

The second annual major sporting event that BUCS hosts is BUCS Big Wednesday, which is the culmination of 15 BUCS team sports with 56 teams being able to walk away with gold medals.

BUCS cross country

What have been some of the highlights for your NUSA in recent years?
The continued growth of our sporting offer over recent years has been a real positive, with five new sports being added to our programme this year. This latest increase in sport offer allows more students to engage in BUCS competitions and specifically, provides two more disability sport opportunities in addition to para events offered at our Athletics, Swimming and Cycling events. 

Last year saw the launch of BUCS Play, our app for students and administrators to operate their sports programmes through. This has also enabled us to engage directly with all participants in our competitions and events, to understand them better and continue to improve the service that we offer to students and universities. 

“EUSA events are hugely important to BUCS and our student members, with sporting events such as the EUSA Games offering a real pinnacle and aspirational target for team athletes.”

How important are the EUSA events – both sporting and educational – for your NUSA?
EUSA events are hugely important to BUCS and our student members, with sporting events such as the EUSA Games offering a real pinnacle and aspirational target for team athletes. BUCS value and engage with EUSA’s educational offer, by supporting Bill Thompson as a member of the EUSA Executive Committee as well as engaging with campaigns such as European Week of Sport and the International Day of University Sport.

BUCS Martial Arts

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted university sport across the world. How was your NUSA able to adapt to the situation, what activities have you still managed to organise and are there any positives you have noted from these difficult circumstances?
During the height of COVID-19 restrictions, BUCS supported students to stay active at home with #GetBUCSActive – an online resource bank with workouts and activities for all students to access. 

Now that restrictions have eased slightly, our formal sport programme is due to start in January 2021, but we are supporting our member universities to arrange local competition between October and December, situation-permitting.

Finally, what does the future of university sport in your country hold?
The future of university sport in the UK will no doubt face challenges in the coming years, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are confident that the enthusiasm of the students and the commitment of our member universities to support them will see university sport continue to flourish. We hope to see the inclusion of a more diverse disability sport offer as well as continue to grow and develop our more established programmes.

EUSA wishes the British Universities and Colleges Sport well for all their future endeavours, and looks forward to seeing their NUSA members and student-athletes at many of our events in future!