|Intramural Sports Makes a Major Reformation|
According to its website, http://www.manchester.edu/Academics/Departments/ESS/Intramurals/index.htm, the intramural sports board promises to provide students with “sport and fun activities that will benefit active and healthy lifestyles, recreational play and at competition in the MU community, respect for all officials, opponents, and players” as well as the “development of a physical, social, and mental well-being of all participants.”
These guidelines have helped shape the newly reformatted program designed by student intern director, Tyler Krempasky, and co-directors, Dr. Ryan Hedstrom and Tami Hoagland, who, in Krempasky’s words, “put the brains behind the whole project.” Along with practicum students David Prokop, Jordan Nieman, Katrin Muser and Temujin Sery as supervisors, the new program has kicked off the year with a smooth start. “They’ve done a phenomenal job,” Krempasky said. “What we’re trying to do is tie [the intramural sports mission statement] in with the values of the University.”
The board has been working on the reformation process since last spring semester, starting with a survey taken by 300 students who gave input on issues they thought existed within the intramural sports program. Communication, organization and officials were the top three concerns. Other concerns included increasing faculty/staff participation and more sport-specific prizes.
Creating a twitter account (@ManUintramurals) and an intramural sports webpage, located on the right-hand side of the MU athletics webpage, has helped deal with the concerns of organization and communication. The webpage contains sports-specific schedules, rosters of each team, pictures, and results. The rosters and schedules erase the issues of people hopping from team to team and miscommunication between team captains and the supervisors.
In the past, students were constantly confused on the time of their match and their opponents. This lead to the new 24-hour rule stating that a team must contact a supervisor 24 hours in advance if their team cannot participate in the scheduled match in order to avoid a forfeit. Email, text, and twitter make this process easier and allow the board to increase participation as well.
The absence of faculty/staff participation in many of the sports has become a concern to the board. Word of mouth seems to be the best mode of transportation for intramural sports information among the faculty/staff along with school-wide emails and flyers. However, participation in general might increase if teams were allowed to have more than one varsity player. This rule eliminates the past problem of “stacking” and increases “equal opportunity” for everyone.
“[Intramural sports] gives MU that competitive edge as we do in our varsity sports and academics as well,” Krempasky said.
Issues with officials appear to be a popular yet unwanted trend among all divisions of sports. Officials must now apply through Spartan Jobs and take a pre-test to ensure appropriate knowledge of the specific game in which they wish to officiate. This raises the credibility of not only the officials themselves, but of the entire program.
The reward for winning an intramural sport used to be a plain “2011–2012 Intramural Sport Champion” t-shirt. This year, the new sport-specific prize will still be a t-shirt because, as Krempasky said, “people love t-shirts,” but it will also state which sport and possibly the roster of the winning team.
Intramural sports can be for anyone. “People who don’t have the opportunity, the time, or who didn’t decide to take [their game] to the next level can still get that competitive edge and still play their sport,” Krempasky said.
Krempasky and the board look to keep participation up by creating a possible bowling tournament during January Session and adding the popular game of corn hole as a sport in the near future.