Intramural sports provide athletic outlet for students

A BYU co-ed intramural softball player drives the ball toward right field at the fields behind Wyview Park. Softball is one of the summer intramural sports. (David Scott)

Intramural sports are a large part of the BYU experience. With a yearly participation of nearly 20,000 students, the competition can be fun and fierce.

Running year round, the BYU intramural office offers up to 20 different sports, including favorites like flag football, soccer, softball and basketball. However, there are also many other options like wallyball, innertube water polo and badminton.

According to BYU’s intramural mission and vision, its goal is to “serve the recreational needs of the majority of the student body and not just the athletic minority.”

Intramurals not only promote teamwork and competition, but also offer a way to connect with other students and relieve stress from school.

BYU senior Heather Baker has participated in several intramural sports since she arrived in Provo three years ago.

“I’ve been involved in intramurals ever since my first semester at BYU as a freshman,” Baker said. “I didn’t know anyone, but I had heard so many stories from my parents and other BYU alums about how many memories they made because of intramurals.”

One of the most popular year-round intramural sports is soccer. For fall, the biggest sport is flag football. Ultimate frisbee has grown in popularity, especially within the past year.

While intramurals are meant for fun, some sports can get a little too competitive, according to BYU Intramural Program Coordinator Tallmadge Richmond.

“The biggest reasons for arguments between players, officials and supervisors is the inconsistent understanding of the rules, whether that be new players not understanding the rules or new officials explaining the rules incorrectly,”  Richmond said.  “There is a wide range of students and backgrounds that come to play.”

Richmond said many intramural athletes who argue with referees don’t fully understand the official rules of the game, which is why “refs and calls are complained about the most.”

Whether those rules include men being clean shaven or allowing women more pitches in softball than men, the rules for intramurals are created not by BYU but by the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, which provides a coed handbook.

Tyler Oberender has watched and refereed many intramural games at BYU and suggests students get involved if they can.

“It gives students a break,” Oberender said. “It gives them an opportunity to come and relax and just enjoy social life and hang out with friends.”

Intramurals allow students to ignite or continue their drive for competition and sport whether they win or lose. They also provide a way for people to create lasting memories and get involved within the atmosphere that is Brigham Young University.

Summer intramurals are underway. For more information and to register for fall sports, visit RB 145 or call 801-422–7597.

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