Don’t like the rules? Don’t blame BYU

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Intramurals are played throughout the year by numerous students and non-students alike, but one of players’ biggest complaints are the strange rules changes.

Intramural sports like flag football have some unique rules, but each rule has a reason behind it. Photo by Jamison Metzger
Intramural sports like flag football have some unique rules, but each rule has a reason behind it. Photo by Jamison Metzger

It can be frustrating when a guy gets called for going up for a rebound in the key in coed basketball. Coed softball rules requiring a team to go through its entire lineup can also be maddening to many, causing some to not want to play.

A little-known fact to most intramural participants is there is a National Intramural Recreational Sports Association that provides a coed handbook as explained by Intramurals Activities Director, Phil Kelly.

“When you go into coed sports, most of our coed sports are going to match coed sports across the country,” Kelly said.

Rule differences between coed sports and men’s or women’s sports can be difficult to understand and to balance.

“The biggest things are going to be, we’re looking at ways to equalize competition. Ways to provide a safe-playing atmosphere,” Kelly said.

Coed basketball is an example of the effort required to make some changes for safety reasons. Men typically play a little rougher around the basket than women, so in order to alleviate possible injury, it was simpler to make a no-rebounding rule for men in the key.

For most sports, intramurals use high school rules, with minor rule changes. Those rule changes revolve around the timing, for the most part.

“For flag football we use the national intramural rule book, that one we follow almost completely… everything else we follow pretty well,” Kelly said.

A rule, considered controversial by some, involves throwing the football forward as many times as a team wants behind the line of scrimmage and is one change BYU intramurals has made. Jeremy Morgan, a junior from Brownwood, Texas, studying exercise science, doesn’t like some changes.

“If we’re going to say we’re going by the national rules, we should go by the national rules and not change them,” Morgan said. “At the same time, no one is going to be content on everything.”

Danny Witt, a senior from Fresno, Calif., studying exercise science, thinks the rule changes cause frustration for those not accustomed to them.

“Most people are familiar with rules they played by in high school and college, when you start changing the rules it makes it frustrating for some.”

Having a national handbook is beneficial in creating a reference and standardization of the rules. But because it is not something that many are aware of, it can cause headaches for many players and referees by association.

“Knowing that BYU intramurals use the rules form the national handbook makes me more willing to comply and more comfortable about the rules,” Witt said. “I think that a lot of people think BYU just created the rules and that’s what frustrates them.”

Although the rules may be hard for many to understand, it has not prevented students from having a desire to play intramural sports every semester.

“Even though the rules for the sports are different for college rules I still enjoy playing the sports even though there may be some rules I prefer to be different,” Witt said. “It doesn’t prevent me from wanting to play the sport with my friends.”

The best way to help create a better atmosphere for players and officials is for players to become more aware of what the rules are for the sport, what the handbook says and what rules are BYU-specific.

“I think the most important thing people can do is become familiar with the rules,” Kelly said. “I think they need to understand the national rule book first of all. I also think they need to read through the information sheet posted on our website.”

As the rules and the reasoning behind rules are better understood by participants, it will create a better environment for everyone.

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