BUCS, Varsity and joining societies – A guide to NTU Sport

University can be a tough time for anyone, especially if you’re going through bad circumstances or ploughing on through stressful times during your studies. That’s why here at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) we take pride in our societies and sports clubs.
Interested in joining a sports club for fun or to compete against other Universities? Here’s some more information on the BUCS and Varsity events, and how you can get involved!


The British University College of Sports, BUCS for short, is the governing body for higher education sport. BUCS created a league whereby universities compete against other to win points. I like to think of it like a football table; if you win points you go up the table, if you don’t win points other Universities go ahead of you.

There are 3 main leagues (Premier league, League 1 and League 2), but some of the larger sports clubs have a League 3 as well. At the end of the season there is a final league table showing the BUCS point positions. NTU have placed 13th overall for the past two seasons and will be hoping to crack the top 10 this coming one!

With the BUCS competitions, you’re also given the opportunity to play home and away games, with live crowds and media coverage from both Universities playing, (so there will always be a cheeky picture that you can post on Instagram!) 

Most sports clubs have competitive matches once or twice every two weeks but depending on the weather (and the sport), games are sometimes rescheduled if they can only be played outside.


Universities also compete at Varsity inter-city matches against their rivals, so for NTU, we face the University of Nottingham to see who the superior sporting Uni in Nottingham is.

The annual series sees the two universities clash in a variety of sporting events as the Trent Army and Uni of battle it out in a number of sporting venues across Nottingham, including both campuses and the Motorpoint Arena.

Varsity games also give us the opportunity to get away with mocking our rival University in order to motivate our teams to win!

One of the highlights from last year’s games was the darts that we covered live here on Platform.

 ‘Jacob Saunders is the hero for UoN as he beat Nathan Ball 3 legs to 2, to win the series 4-2 overall. The UoN team take to stage to celebrate their victory of reclaiming their title from NTU’ – Platform Magazine.

Despite the loss for NTU, the Trent Army remained in full voice throughout to maintain an amazing atmosphere. People came for a laugh, to drink with mates and to watch an extremely competitive darts series, even though some in the crowd didn’t understand the rules!

Joining a Sports Society

So, you want to join a sports club? First thing you need to do is find a club you’re interested in and you’ll need to purchase a sports club membership. This initial fee covers a variety of aspects including your insurance, fees for any competitions throughout the year, travel and accommodation fees, venue hire, equipment hire and coaching throughout the year!

NTU have loads of sports on offer to join, including the more obvious choices of football, tennis, cricket and athletics, to more obscure sports with the likes of fencing, pole dancing and motor racing.

Each club will also have their own fee to become a member (paid straight to the sports club), in order to purchase or upgrade the equipment currently being used, and it can go towards socials, trips and further coaching.

To check out the full list of clubs and to get more information, head to NTU’s official website!

What are the benefits of joining a sports club?

Whether you want to continue a sport you play a hobby, or try something new, sports clubs have a variety of other positives which have attracted lots of NTU students in the past:

(1) Free taster sessions to give you an idea of what to expect, (you’ll find the dates, timings and locations for these in the freshers booklet once you have a confirmed place at NTU).

(2) Lots of training and learning new skills, including the ability to learn new techniques, 1 on 1 coaching sessions, strength and conditioning training, competition preparation and practice and much more.

(3) The ability to meet a variety of people/network at the sports club socials/events at restaurant meals, drinking events held at the local bars and nightclubs and team building exercises including bowling and mini golf.

(4) Competition between Universities in both Varsity matches and BUCS competitions to give your university the much-craved bragging rights!

(5) Keeping active at University. Exercise is often good for you when studying, and sometimes helps relieve stress/pressure and can positively help mental health issues.

(6) It will give you the opportunity to become a leader and boost your confidence. You will have the chance to apply for committee roles that will both give you skills and look great on a CV, and when competing, you’ll have the team morale behind you, giving you that extra confidence! 

I spoke to Indi Johnson, the president of NTU Fencing for the upcoming year, about her experience within a sports society and what she has gained since being a member.

“Joining a sports society was definitely the best decision I have ever made,” she stated. “It has given me amazing opportunities to learn new things and meet new people. The team spirit is amazing and I always feel supported by those within the club.

“Prior to University, I had never fenced before, so I was nervous about joining a club, but my confidence has certainly grown over the last two years. I have competed in almost every competition and I have now been voted in as the NTU Fencing President for the upcoming year 2019/2020.” 

She added: “One of the other reasons I joined a sports club, is to have a separate group of friends, away from my University course.

“Fencing takes up a lot of my time, but I believe that any sports club is a great way to meet new people, do something constructive, try something new (or continue a sport that you played before University) and everyone is in the same boat so it’s a nice way to ease you in!

“All sports clubs have members with a varied level of skills which means it is easy for people to join as there will always be someone with as much experience or more experience than you!”

By Brandon Boyd

Photo Credit: Brandon Boyd, Indi Johnson, Olivia Dodgson, Abi Narandja, Matt Tubb and Ella Farnsworth

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