Intramural Sports: Increased participation leads to expansion

Students looking for a break from the busy mid-term week have the option of participating in an intramural sport on campus.

In addition to an academic break, intramurals gives students a chance to get involved on campus.

Senior Matt Miller, has been playing intramural sports for all four years with the same group of friends.

“It’s a good way to take your mind off schoolwork,” Miller said. “I’d recommend it to anyone whether you have a group of friends or not.”

There is a sport for nearly everyone. From flag football to ping pong and volleyball to sports trivia, each activity caters to different interests.

“We try to offer something for everyone, regardless of your skill level or comfort level,” recreation director Scott Peden said.

“I think the understanding is that you have to have extensive knowledge or you have to have played in high school, and that is far from the truth,” said Eric Kammeyer, assistant director of recreation.

Students who wish to participate must create an account online through IMLeagues. Once registered, a student can either join or create a team.

From 2004 to 2011, total team participation increased from 124 to 668, including a jump from 194 to 459 between 2008 and 2009.

Additionally, individual  participation has increased from 951 to 3,133 over the last eight years.

Kammeyer attributes the drastic change in participation to high school experience.

“I think a lot more students are getting involved in high school, and when they get to college, they don’t want to let it go,” Kammeyer said.

Sophomore Jake Ready is an example of this. Ready said he has played nearly every intramural sport and recommends Butler’s program to everyone.

“I played sports in high school, and I’m not playing a collegiate sport, so it’s a good way to stay active and keep playing without the major time commitment of playing an actual collegiate sport,” Ready said.

Varsity athletes at Butler are allowed to play intramural sports but not the same sport that they play at Butler.

Intramural sports have changed drastically at Butler over the last several years.

Prior to Kammeyer’s hiring in fall of 2009, all signups were done by paper at the Health and Recreation Complex, and there was a marketing committee that went around campus looking for participants.

“We really had to go out and talk to the participants,” Kammeyer said. “Now we don’t have to show up at their doorstep. We can be on their mobile phone or connect with them all over campus.”

Now that signups are done over the Internet, students can sign up at their house or dorm rather than going to the HRC.

Additionally, the use of Twitter and other social media has allowed information, such as intramural championships, to be communicated.

Other changes include an increase from eight to 16 different sports, adopting the national rules of sports, three-to-four week leagues with single-elimination playoff games and raffles such as free pizza for a year and a new car.

Kammeyer said while organizers like to stick to the traditional sports, they also like to offer unique sports.

An example of this is battleship, which, Kammeyer said, will be an intramural sport in the spring.

“The part I enjoy the most is being able to spend time with your friends, ” Ready said, “doing what I love most, which is sports.”

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