The Renegades acknowledge progress, aim for integration.


Kaitlin Hetterscheidt

Renegades officers (left to right) Mike Sempek, a junior television major; Ryan Miller, a senior marketing communications major; and Scott Wilson, a senior cinema art + science major, discuss future Renegades plans.

By Assistant Sports

After a semester that saw the addition of three teams and several successful fundraisers, the Renegades are continuing to make their presence on campus known.

The Renegades have enjoyed an increased turnout and participation at their events. The organization’s new teams—Belegarth—which is a medieval-themed fantasy sport, ice hockey and Quidditch—are currently beginning to practice. Scott Wilson, a senior cinema art + science major and vice president of the Renegades, said the new teams are part of an effort to reach a new demographic of students beyond just sports fans. 

“With the addition of [the Belegarth team] Galahad and Quidditch and branching into more Columbia-esque sports, I think that that’s definitely opening up our demographic a lot to Columbia students,” Wilson said. “To kind of [help us] branch away from the jock mentality, [that] is really helping us out.”

Renegades President Mike Sempek, a junior television major, said although he is excited about what the Renegades have accomplished so far, they still have work to do going forward.

“I’ve done some looking back at old stuff and I think the 2007–2008 era [Renegades] were the best they’ve ever been,” Sempek said. “In recent years, [the club] has been the worst it’s ever been. I think that right now, we’re just trying to get it back to where it was and do better than they did.”

The current Renegades leadership has set its sights on one goal for the club this year: integration. They said they want to make sports a part of the Columbia community, something Mark Brticevich, coordinator of fitness, athletics and recreation and faculty advisor to the Renegades, said previous leadership failed to do. 

 “The original board—they wanted to change the face of Columbia by making us a sports school,” Brticevich said. “Like NCAA, where we would eventually have a stadium and be like other schools, and that wasn’t [going to] happen. But this board managed to change the face of Columbia by being part of Columbia, being part of the Columbia community and leading that charge.”

Brticevich said students may become more supportive of the Renegades if they understand the origins of the name and who it is really for. 

“Columbia used to be known as the Coyotes,” Brticevich said. “When we made the name change, it was specifically looking at something that fit Columbia and that’s why Renegades came up. It wasn’t for the sports teams, it was for Columbia. We don’t do things like traditional colleges. We don’t think inside that same box, and that’s where the name resonated from.”

Poms Captain Haley Franker said the dance team recently reached its fundraising goal and will be receiving uniforms for will be receiving uniforms next semester. The Poms team also performed during halftime of the Chicago Steam basketball game Nov. 22, their first off-campus performance ever, which was also nationally broadcast on ESPN3.

The Renegades are also holding a logo design contest through Dec. 2, offering students the chance to create a new logo intended to unify Columbia as a school as well as represent the sports teams on campus. 

Ryan Miller, a senior marketing communication major and information officer for the Renegades, said the hope is to have Columbia adopt the design so the entire school can be unified under one logo and one set of colors. The college and its teams currently have no identifiable markers, he said.

“You see people walking around in their Columbia attire and what is that?” Miller said. “[The sweatshirts] are purple, black and blue—it just says Columbia. You can’t even tell the difference between some of those and like Columbia, the jacket brand. You don’t know what it’s for. You don’t associate [it with] anything.” 

Brticevich said he hopes the unified logo helps students understand they do not have to play on any of the sports teams to be a Renegade.

“That’s what we’re trying to solidify now,” Brticevich said. “We’re all renegades, not just the sports teams and that’s why we want to have Renegades plastered over our chest, because we do things differently. We think differently and that’s what a renegade does—they don’t follow the typical run-of-the-mill.”