VSU intramural sports kicked off its spring 2019 semester on Jan. 28.
For Director of Campus Recreation Shawn Phippen, it begins another semester of “a great tradition” of intramural sports at VSU. That tradition dates back to 2014, when VSU won the first of three straight flag football national championships.
“Many students love the opportunity to build relationships with others that you may not typically get the opportunity to,” Phippen said. “That camaraderie and team building are essential life skills that every participant gets the opportunity to develop. Some even are lucky enough to represent VSU on a national level.”
Phippen has overseen a lot of changes to Campus Recreation, including the addition of turf fields to minimize maintenance of grass and reduce the number of cancellations during the season.
“Back before we had turf, it was always unfortunate to see rain reduce a team’s number of games to two per season, which had happened before in the past,” he said. “This allows students to get more opportunities to participate and stay active. Nobody wants to see cancellations.”
Wyatt Lee, VSU’s new coordinator of competitive sports, shared that sentiment, as he has noticed numerous studies of student participation in intramural sports dropping over the years.
“A number of factors go into decreased participation, including students needing jobs in school now more than ever and even less physical activity and more in-home entertainment in student’s everyday lives,” Lee said. “I hope to not see those numbers go down at VSU, especially when getting to play intramural sports is so important to a student’s development and overall collegiate satisfaction.”
Lee, along with the rest of Campus Recreation, has gone about increasing participation in a few different ways. So far this semester, Lee has attempted to go directly to students and find out what they want from their intramural experience.
“One thing I always heard from teams was that they wanted to play more games,” he said. “So, instead of playing four games over four weeks in the past, I was able to add dates so that students can play as many as eight games in a season. We don’t want to limit how much students can participate, especially when they’re asking for more.”
Campus Recreation also proposed the inclusion to intramural e-sports, or video game competitions, to try and increase appeal to a wider audience of students who may be interested in participating.
Lee mentioned that it had come up in discussions with Campus Recreation, but for now, more research into interest and startup costs would be required.
Phippen has been working to create even further interest by creating events centered on intramural sports.
This includes working with VSU Athletics on hosting the IM basketball championship game at the P.E. Complex, where students can watch the two finalists for each division compete for a championship and enjoy other festivities.
More details for this event will be announced at a later date.
Overall, Phippen and Lee shared the same sentiment that intramural sports are an integral part to a campus community and that participation on campus matters.
“We at Campus Recreation are striving to produce the best possible service to the students,” Phippen said. “Studies have shown us that intramural sports can improve grades [and] college satisfaction and help develop complete individuals for the future through teamwork, camaraderie and working with people from different backgrounds [than] your own. Not to mention, it creates student jobs and great opportunities to improve your resume.”
Intramural sports are available to all fee-paying students, faculty, staff and alumni. Sports still eligible for registration for spring 2019 include 4v4 flag football, indoor volleyball, soccer, ping pong, softball, ultimate frisbee and extreme dodgeball.
Those interested can register online at IMLeagues.com.
Written by Kyle Grondin, Staff Writer. Photo Courtesy of VSU Flickr.
For more sports click here.