Students have traditionally loved participating in Intramural sports at UNF for years, but after COVID-19 hit, they haven’t returned. What happened?
Last year when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on normal activities on campus, Intramural sports weren’t taking place. Now, entering this fall, students still haven’t seen them fully return. On the intramural sports page, the update is that “Intramurals is getting a makeover,” but what will that mean going forward into the Spring semester?
Intramural sports are leagued and programmed sports that are hosted by the school for students to participate in. Many students can then apply with their own teams to compete in different leagues.
Director of Operations of the Recreation and Wellness Center Heather Kite explained that Covid created the “perfect storm”, because Intramurals were one of the last programs to come back to somewhat in-person. Last year since there were no Intramural programs the staff was quickly depleted. This is due to the fact that it became difficult to keep staff on hand for events that weren’t happening. The staff that the school has for Intramurals are a specifically trained set of individuals.
Kite then explained what the staff’s responsibilities would be during normal circumstances,
“A normal fall semester program would be leagues and program sports. If you’re offering leagued and programmed sports then you’ve got the fieldhouse sport program going on, the northfield program going on, and then for whatever the sport was going to be that’s where you have those different positions,” she said.. “You have a scorekeeper, an official, a referee, and a supervisor; those are the standard positions.”
Kite went on to explain how when there are no sports going on, there isn’t anything for that staff to do. Since there were no programs going on for such an extended period of time, any staff that was left that was trained and able to help put on the programs had graduated or moved on to other jobs.
Another factor that affected the restart of the programs is the vacancy in the assistant director position that would train all of the staff necessary for Intramural sports to occur.
“Even if we had the right assistant director in that spot right now it would be so crazy hard to have a full Intramural program because they would still have to get all of these staff just for one sport,” Kite stated.
The Recreation and Wellness Center is currently hiring for the position, but for the time being the intramural sports program is having open-rec nights every week. Kite says that the staff they have working the open-rec nights will be great potential candidates for Intramural sports staff once they get an assistant director.
As of the time of writing, the open-rec nights just concluded their third week of activities. These plans sometimes change what the sport is depending on the interest, but this is what the center has planned according to their website,
Since the open-rec nights started on Sept 27, there have been some changes in the sports they have held. Their Instagram is updated often with information on what sports are being held each week. Kite advised that their Instagram is the best way to stay up to date on what is happening.
The website page with more information can be found here.
Spinnaker asked Kite what the future is looking like for Intramural sports, and she explained that they hope to have an assistant director before the fall semester ends. She said that then in spring they will start to build their staff back up to hold programmed and leagued sports,
“What we are doing right now is not really Intramurals, it’s a fun open-rec environment to keep people active and to start developing that staff. In the spring we should be able to start leagues and tournaments. It just might be a smaller thing.”
In the meantime, if students were to have their own student-led field time they can book the space online. That information can be found here. If students are looking to book something just for fun, there will be a staff member that goes out to support them.
“If you have two teams and who want to play each other in volleyball, then you can play each other in volleyball. We’ll make that work. The idea of a league or a regular thing probably won’t be a thing until next semester. We are definitely poised to support the informal rec,” Kite closed.
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