Intramurals have been around since 1913 and they are a staple of university athletics.
At Pacific Lutheran University, intramurals are offered in a variety of sports including volleyball, football, soccer, softball and basketball. Some sports are so popular they are offered multiple times a year. Each sport has a season and any student at PLU can sign up to play.
It wasn’t that long ago when PLU intramurals were an unorganized, unregulated organization. Coordinator of Recreation Rob Thompson was hired by PLU to create and oversee programs like Outdoor Rec, the Bike Coop, and intramurals. Something he has been working on is straightening up and improving intramural sports.
A big feature that Thompson has created is the position of intramural referees.
Before Thompson became coordinator, intramural sports had no referees and it was a free-for-all for athletes.
“Without refs it’s really whoever has the loudest voice usually gets the calls,” Thompson said. This organization, or lack thereof, kept attendance and enjoyment low in intramurals at PLU.
Ever since the implementation of referees, or as Thompson now calls them “regulators,”attendance has been up.
“We’ve seen a huge difference in attendance. Just three years ago we were at around 450 students,” Thompson said. ”Last year we had 782 students play intramural sports, and this year we are on pace to grow even more.”
The rules are also a bit different for intramurals as they are for varsity sports. “We really adapt so they have similar rules, but not nearly as many. We just really aim to simplify the rules to a point where someone who hasn’t played can come right in immediately and feel comfortable.”
Fewer rules and a friendlier atmosphere are key pieces to the enjoyment of intramural sports.
A new title has also been created in intramural sports this season. Student referees are now called “regulators,” a change that can be seen on the shirts of Thompson’s employees.
“I wanted it to be a bit different and the word “referee” was a bit boring to me. I’m also a fan of ‘90s hip-hop and may have been listening to Warren G & Nate Dogg when designing the shirts.”
With new titles and a growing list of offered sports every year, intramurals have become a welcomed diversion for student athletes at PLU. The new winter season is coming soon and all PLU students are encouraged to try their hand at their favorite sport.