A key initiative of our strategy, the Sport Review is developing and implementing an enhanced inter-university competition programme for all student athletes, at all levels. 


This page details the history of the Sport Review process since the concept’s inception in 2016, the impact the body of work has had across the membership and also how we aspire to shape and connect the future of higher education sport via our stakeholder, member and student needs.

Also available for download, is the complete road map and delivery model of how we have engaged, reviewed and implemented significant change and benchmarking throughout each Sport Review Cycle (Cycles One – Four) as we head into Cycle Five and beyond. The Sport Review Cycles One – Four: Review and Recommendations for Cycles Five and Beyond report will be annually updated and reviewed, acting as a progression stamp for future cycles.

In the 2023-24 season, BUCS will deliver 55 sports within our league and knockout, and events programme. With the launch of the new BUCS 2023-27 Strategy in July 2023, Sport Review Cycle Five and the Sport Review Implementation Group will now play a significant role in not only aiding the delivery of embedding the company mission, but also cutting through the strategic theme of competition. The process, and group, are the vehicle in which we contribute to driving membership engagement and strategic partnerships. With an understanding that our stakeholders can utilise the Sport Review forum to produce co-designed programmes that are fit for purpose and recognised as exceptional experiences. 

History and current direction 


As part of the BUCS 2017-21 strategy, the Sport Review process was established to enable BUCS to develop and implement an enhanced inter-university competition programme for all student athletes at all levels and within all tiers of our programmes. 

With the first iteration of the Sport Review Implementation Group (SRIG) formed in 2016-18, the original framework was launched in the 2018-19 season, based on three core guiding principles: 

  • Understanding who BUCS athletes were and how they engage with BUCS competitions and events 

  • Guiding National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and BUCS Advisory Groups on how their current sport specific offers were positioned within the sector

  • Providing the opportunity for the appropriate level of competition for our students

To date, there have been three significant phases of Sport Review’s evolution. Phase one focused on the formation of SRIG and outlining the group’s purpose, as well as establishing the framework in which to assess existing offers. Phase two produced Sport Review Cycles One - Three between 2018-2022 and catalysed the addition of 18 new sporting offers and adjustments into the BUCS programme. Most recently, Phase three has launched the new Sport Review Implementation Group, resulting in a shift surrounding the core guiding principles that formed the original fibre of the concept. 


The purpose of SRIG and the remit of Cycle Five will remain as per the 2022-23 season (Cycle Four), with the vision and associated aims at the core of how the Sport Review Implementation Group operate recognised as: 

Vision: To ensure sports that sit within the BUCS competitions programme, are fit for purpose, deliver an exceptional experience, and maximise NGB engagement for our student athletes whilst in a safe and inclusive environment. 

Core aims: 

• Striving to review our current offers and programmes with all key stakeholders by building a robust and transparent assessment framework

• To have an understanding of what a ‘good’ offer and programme looks and feels like for our students and members to create an ever-improving level of service and experience

• Working alongside National Governing Bodies to fully engage them in the delivery of our services

Critically, we must now align our vision and aims to the BUCS Strategy 2023-27. Within the previous BUCS Strategy 2017-2021, SRIG moved across the social and recreation (competition), inter-university and performance (domestic) sport strands, whereas going forward the newly published competition strands now threads through our entire delivery model. 

How to engage 

SRIG is now into its second iteration of the implementation group (2022-23) as listed below. The group are entering their second year of the term, and would encourage any of our members to feedback on how the cycles operate, our purpose and the process. Any questions can be directed to BUCS Head of Competitions and Performance Andy Gilvary.

Adrian Ibbetson University of Central Lancashire
Ali Cutler University of Chester
Andrew Miller University of Manchester
Chris Campbell Nottingham Trent University
Dan Tilley University of Nottingham
Dominic King University of Essex
Ed Nicholas Independant Chair
Fraser Kennedy Newcastle University
George Christian University of Birmingham
Joel Adebanjo Robert Gordon University
Samantha Walsh Loughborough University
Tom Drewett University of Birmingham

Cycle five timelines 

All associated timelines can be seen below which may be subject to change: 

September 2023 Cycle Five begins and second year of SRIG group term
November 2023 Sport Review Cycles One – Four document published
November 2023 SRIG meeting one
December 2023 Sport Review update presented at Winter Summit (TBC)
February 2024 SRIG meeting two
May 2024 SRIG meeting three
July 2024 SRIG meeting four
July 2024 Sport Review Cycle Five closes
August 2024 Sport Review Cycle Five document published
September 2024 Sport Review Cycle Six begins

New sports 

We will continue to have discussions with new sports, with a number of steps our conversations have been taking and will follow going forward: 

  • All sports can contact the BUCS office via the Head of Competitions and Performance at any time for the first step in the process 

  • Sport will then be invited to engage with the new proposal framework

  • The information will then be taken back to SRIG for assessment during the next quarterly meeting 

  • All new sports will then be updated as the process unfolds via SRIG and the BUCS office 

To note, as per the groups current vision we are focused on reviewing all current offers and will be building a new sport guidance document for future proposals. This document will be slated for completion and published prior to the 2024-25 season.

Share this: