University Sports in Austria
University Sport in Austria officially started at the biggest public university, the University of Vienna, with an imperial-ministerial decree on 24. September 1848. The agenda of university sports has always been part of the work in the Federal Ministry responsible for the universities.
Today Unisport Austria takes over the agenda of the National University Sports Organisation. The public universities are autonomous and their legally instituted seven University Sport Departments provide grassroots sports and regional championships for students and university staff by choice to every university on site. With 155.000 participants each year, they count to the biggest multi-sport-providers in Austria. Over all, there are 22 public universities, 21 universities of applied sciences, 16 private universities and 14 university colleges of teacher education in Austria with more than 350.000 students and 62.000 university employees.
The organization of national university championships and the participation in European and international university championships are just one part of the work. Additionally the team of Unisport Austria has a strategic field of duty: The national strategic controlling over the whole university sports sector and legally giving direction and financing for all university sports department through performance agreements.
Last year (2019) 116 regional university championships with more than 10.000 participants and 7 national university championships with more than 300 participants took place. Austria participated in 10 European Universites Champsionships with 96 student athletes and in two universiades with a total of 65 students athletes. With 18 gold, 20 silver and 14 bronze medals in European and International University Sports Championships 2019 was a quite successful year. Especially the Summer Universiade in Neapel brought two records: the first Universiade-medals in sailing and in gymnastics for Austria.
We are now looking forward to organize the WUC Sports Climbing in 2022 in cooperation with the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Climbing Federation.
Crisis is a productive state and a food for thought! Although University Sport in Austria is mostly stately funded, all institutions had to adapt to the COVID-19-restrictions to survive. Most of the adjustments take place in the University Sports Departments, some of it also affects Unisport Austria. New digital models to provide sports (for grassroots and championships) got developed and applied at the universities. Additionally to the nowadays lowered rate of students in the presence courses and championships, a total new field to generate income opens possibilities and are a chance to rethink.