The reasons students participate in intramural sports are as varied and numerous as the actual activities.
Some athletes don’t want the commitment of a varsity or club team. Some want to make friends and meet new people. Some are talked into it by their friends. Some can’t get enough of their favorite sports. Some enjoy the low-stakes competition among classmates.
Some students, like Derrick Clark, a junior with concurrent majors in accounting and finance, take part in intramural sports and activities for all those reasons and more.
Clark, who is a member of Behrend’s basketball team, has participated in intramural flag football, basketball, and volleyball.
“I enjoy intramurals because they are fun and competitive,” Clark said. “They give you a chance to meet new people and also to compete against your friends.”
Within one institution
The word intramural is defined as “within the walls of one building.” At the college level, those walls are expanded to include the entire educational institution. So intramural sports and activities are those that take place on campus among students.
At Behrend, more than two dozen activities are offered each semester, including five-on-five and three-onthree basketball, volleyball, cornhole, dodgeball, sand volleyball, tennis, fun runs, ultimate Frisbee, football, pingpong, arena football, soccer, and much more.
Rob Wittman, director of intramural and recreation programs, has been organizing these activities at Behrend for more than twenty-five years. He said the program has evolved over the decades to include activities such as fantasy football, chess, video gaming, and other non-traditional intramural offerings.
“It’s an effort to reach students who may not be as interested in athletics events or sports, but still want to get together for fun and competition,” Wittman said.
Sports without the commitment
Intramural offerings are, at most, a three-week commitment. Many are just a one-time activity, so they give students the chance to play without having to devote too much time.
“Ultimately, intramurals are a retention tool,” Wittman said. “They give students an opportunity to have fun, meet people, and learn something outside of the classroom.”
Club sports are a step above intramurals, with regular practices and games against other teams, often from other colleges.
“Some don’t even want that sort of commitment, so intramurals are a nice alternative,” Wittman said.
In addition to organized tournaments and activities, Wittman offers students semester-long fitness challenges such as the Behrend Fitness Club and I Lift Weights Club, where students can earn a t-shirt or other Behrend swag by reaching specific goals.
“These are meant to encourage students to work out and stay fit,” he said.
Plenty take advantage. In the past academic year, almost a thousand students participated in at least one intramural activity.
Wittman said plans for the coming year include new activities, perhaps some oversized lawn games, like Jenga or Connect Four, cross-fit-type classes, and a Madden NFL online competition.
The staple sports, though, will remain.
“Football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, bowling, and other traditional sports are always popular, so we’re not doing away with those,” he said. “We just want to expand on that so even more students can participate.”
To learn more about intramurals or see a schedule, visit psblions.com and choose the "Inside Athletics" tab