The coronavirus pandemic has altered the lives of college students worldwide and has changed the whole “college experience” as we know it. One thing that the pandemic has affected that many students participate in: intramural sports. Whether it’s beach volleyball, flag football, or three-on-three basketball games, intramural sports have been a way for college students to showcase their athleticism and make new friends.
This Fall, intramural sports will look a little different on The University of Tampa’s campus. Sports and events being offered in the Fall semester may seem a bit different than years past due to COVID-19.
To begin the semester, UT will not be engaging in any competitive intramural sports due to COVID-19.
“In alignment with the most recent decisions regarding UT Athletics Fall sports, the Office of Campus Recreation announced that all Club Sports will follow suit, and not engage in competitions to begin the semester,” said assistant director of Competitive Sports, Joshua Pullens.
However, competitive sports could return to campus as soon as October, but one thing the pandemic has proved is that the future contains many unknowns.
“It will be decided no later than early October 2020, whether a return to competition will be permitted in the Fall 2020 semester,” said Pullens. “Campus Recreation is committed to working with each club on a resocialization plan based on risk levels for each sport. Also, club practices may resume upon approval of the club’s resocialization plans. We will continue to look to federal, state, and local health guidance, along with university policies, when determining future competitions.”
Campus Recreation is offering several activities that students can sign up for this semester, some of which are even beginning during the first week of classes. These activities include cornhole, ping pong, bowling, badminton, kickball, and bocce ball. They will have other events like an NBA 2K20, Madden NFL 20, and FIFA 20 for video game lovers at UT.
“Intramurals Sports will be offered for the Fall 2020 semester at UT. Like most Universities that are reopening, we will be offering programming that is lower risk,” said Pullens.
These sports and activities allow students to have fun still and interact with friends, and practice social distancing and minimize physical contact between them.
Despite all these events, UT students have been left in limbo and have not heard much information about intramurals for the upcoming Fall semester.
“I honestly didn’t even think that intramurals were going to be offered this semester because I haven’t gotten any emails or seen anything about it,” said junior accounting major, Derek Bresch.
Bresch has participated in intramural sports during his time at UT and is open to competing in the Fall Semester.
UT students remain enthusiastic and eager to participate in intramurals if they are offered in the upcoming semester. Intramurals provide a way for students to forget about the stress of classes and have fun with their friends.
“I want to participate if they’re offered this semester,” said Bresch. “It would feel like some normalcy during this time. Campus and classes are going to look and feel so much different, so still being able to participate in intramurals would almost give me hope that things are slowly returning to normal.”
However, COVID-19 is still alive, and with students wanting to participate in intramurals, there are sure to be protocols in place.
Students expect safety protocols to be put in place to keep everyone safe, and some students may even hesitate to participate if there weren’t any.
“I’d hope that there’d be some protocols put in place,” said sophomore sports management major, Cade Koehler. “Things like only players allowed and friends cannot come and watch and temperature checks before games and maybe even wearing masks while playing and social distancing. UT intramurals aren’t the NBA or NHL, but maybe they can take some things for what they are doing in the bubble and implement them into intramurals.”
The pandemic has made some students more hesitant to participate in intramurals because they do not want to put their friends and roommates at risk.
“Especially since its intramural and not competitive division one or division two sports, we all need to put our safety and the safety of people like our roommates and friends first,” said Koehler. “But if the university determines it is safe for students to participate in and there are protocols in place, I don’t think there’s anything to be worried about, and I definitely would participate.”
According to Pullens, Campus Recreation follows the CDC guidelines and has a list of protocols that include mandatory face coverings, limited shared equipment, staggered game times, mandated entrance and exits, and sanitizing stations, and gloves for those sports with shared equipment.
Students can find what intramurals are offered and how to sign up for them on https://www.ut.edu/campus-life/recreation/intramural-sports and imleagues.com.