University hosts first Budgetball to deal with economy

budget bounce: A member of Team Business Ballers gets ready to catch a pass during their Budgetball match against Team Random Acts of Kindness at the Budgetball Tournament held on April 18. Jessica Hodder // First Impression Staff

The University of Miami was the first university in the nation to host Budgetball, a new sport developed in response to the economic crisis.

Its purpose is to provide students with a fun way to experience debt management and learn saving and spending strategies.

Budgetball is a variation of Ultimate Frisbee combined with tactical budget planning.

Recent UM graduate Steven Siegal is in charge of the event on behalf of the Office of the President. He started working on the project in August 2008.

“I really want people to get excited about this. It’s going to be a huge event,” Siegal said.

The budgetball tournament took place in April on the Yaron Intramural Fields with food and prizes handed out to those who attended.

During the week leading up to the event, activities and giveaways took place in the Breezeway and at the Rock. The documentary I.O.U.S.A., which is the economic equivalent to the environment’s An Inconvenient Truth, was screened.

On Feb. 18, Siegal led an information session about being on the planning committee for Budgetball. He explained the details of the event and the potential time commitment to the students who attended.

According to Siegal, the University of Miami did not fund the event and all of the funds were from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the National Academy of Public Administration and Sponsorships.

“We get to be the ones that show everyone else how it’s done,” sophomore Amy Wilson said.

This fall, Budgetball is expected to be played on many other college campuses, such as Harvard University and the University of Washington.

The University of Miami’s Launch Pad team won the Budgetball Tournament. Thirty-two teams with up to 10 students on each team participated in the single-elimination tournament.

Teams score points by passing the ball to a player in the end zone, while strategically managing their Budgetbucks. Budgetbucks may be borrowed, earned or spent by taking advantages such as an extra offensive player or by taking team sacrifices like wearing oven mitts during play.

To win, the team must creatively and responsibly use debt and savings to gain sufficient advantage over their opponents and score more points.

“We used the same type of strategy for Budgetball as we do for real companies,” said Lucas Sommer, the team’s student captain. “We planned out our long-term goals and used resource allocation to build an effective team.”