Intramural sportsmanship stems from students

UND intramural sports refereed by students, new sports offered with varying competition levels

A UND intramural basketball team poses after competing at the Wellness Center this year. Photo submitted.

For more than 60 years, UND students have been participating in intramural sports, and students are just as involved today as ever, sometimes getting too into the games.

Coordinator of Rec Sports and Special Events Patrick Marcoe said games are all run by students, and it’s more difficult to referee classmates than people think, which can lead to unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Sportsmanship, in my opinion, can always be improved,” Marcoe said. “We do the best that we can with our officials, but they are students. Actually, a lot of the time, it’s their first officiating job — and officiating, especially for your peers, is really a different animal.”

With nine different sports offered this semester, students have several options to choose from, including sports not played in high schools.

“The one thing we’ve been trying to do is add more sports each year,” he said. “Some of the non-traditional sports like dodgeball, broomball and badminton.”

Physical therapy student Kelsey Meyer, who is currently playing on a dodgeball team for her third year in a row, says people can take it pretty seriously, but that the referees perform well.

“The atmosphere is intense,” Meyer said. “The games get pretty competitive. The refs aren’t super serious, but they do try to make it as fair as possible. There is so much throwing and dodging going on that it’s easy to miss a call. But overall they do a good job.”

Dodgeball is one of the newer sports, according to Marcoe, and with eight teams in the league this year, he said the turnout is on par with what it’s been in recent semesters.

“Dodgeball has kind of been hit and miss, but we’ve been trying to have it each semester now as a league,” Marcoe said.

After every night of intramurals, no matter what the sport, the supervisor and referees give every team a sportsmanship rating, with the lower numbers reflecting bad attitudes and higher numbers showing a better control of emotions.

Only a couple times in the last few years have teams been suspended from playoffs due to unsportsmanlike conduct, and Marcoe says such rules help keep players in check just like in high school games.

“We try to make these sports as well officiated as possible,” he said. “My feeling is that these games should be very close to a (junior varsity) high school game or an actual high school game, so we try to take the rules as seriously as possible.”

The most popular of the sports is ice hockey, which has three divisions and over 50 teams total, making it one of the most competitive of the leagues. For the most part, students respect each other.

“I’ve never really seen any players that were bad sports since I’ve been playing,” junior Mike Hjermstad said. “Maybe only a few on rare occasions.”

One of the referees claims some of the other hockey referees don’t take it seriously enough, making it frustrating to officiate.

“If you’re going to do intramural sports, you need to have knowledge about the game,” one ice hockey ref said. “You need to care.”

Marcoe remains confident that intramural officials continue to get better at their job.

“We’ve got a good group this year around,” he said. “And we’re improving our officials each and every year.”

Marie Monson is the multimedia editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].