Intramural program due for redesign

The intramural sports program has been a large part of the Rensselaer community for well over 50 years. On a yearly basis, it includes over 4,000 participants, with over 1,400 games and 23 sports. With the addition of the East Campus Athletic Village, the Intramural program will be able to expand its sport and tournament offerings even further, affording the students more and varied opportunities to compete and have fun with their peers.

Unfortunately, problems arise in any organization, no matter the size, and the intramural department is no exception. This semester has been particularly difficult coordinating all of our programs with more fields, unforeseen issues with lights and schedules, and additional club sports. This year, due to increased student interest, we now have club baseball, ice hockey, and soccer. While there have always been rules governing varsity student-athletes in intramural sports, club sports had never been an issue until this past season.

Over the winter break, the intramural department will review and redesign policies and sport rules to accommodate the new and ever-growing RPI community. We anticipate that while in season, club sports and intercollegiate athletes will not be allowed to participate in the same sport they are playing at the club and intercollegiate levels. While out of season they will be eligible to participate intramurally in their intercollegiate/club sport, they will only be allowed into the most competitive league. Additionally, there will likely be limits placed on the number of club/intercollegiate members per intramural team. This is for competitive balance of the particular intramural sports program.

RPI picture identification cards are critical to the program as they insure that only RPI students who are assigned to a particular team participate. This policy protects RPI against liability issues, should a non-RPI participant become injured or injures another participant during a contest. It is our policy that participants must bring their student ID with them to participate. Valid IDs should always be collected, and no one should be allowed to participate without one. Unfortunately, with our paper system and ever-changing student work force, updates, roster additions, and schedules can be very complex. Literally hundreds of e-mails go out to refs, supervisors, and captains in a semester. For convenience sake some of our staff has allowed fellow students to participate. This will not be permitted in the future and we are looking at ways of improving our current system.

While communication and scheduling has always had its flaws, the intramural department is continually evolving. We are launching a new website to be implemented for the spring semester to deal with a number of communication and supervisory issues. The intramural department expects to post everything online and no longer to send out hundreds of e-mails that could be lost or unread. The new website will also house a programming system that allows real-time score updates, schedules, and roster additions. The program will also check for, weed out, and prevent duplicate players from being added to more than one roster for any one sport. This gives the Intramural department greater supervision and control over every league to insure student safety and fairness.

The intramural program is a vital part of the student experience here at Rensselaer. It is designed to be managed by students for the enjoyment of the entire Rensselaer community. Any ideas that allow us to improve our offerings and better enforce our policies are always welcomed.

Joseph Campo

Coordinator of Recreation Services