Can Intramurals be Saved?
Adam Pruett and his team in the CMS Office of Recreational Sports have transformed the way we play intramural sports. After only a year as Director of Recreational Sports, Pruett has revamped all sections of CMS’ intramural program, and has given students the opportunity to define their intramural sports experience. The remodeling process started a year ago when Pruett came to CMS and found an intramural sports program that was outdated and inflexible to student’s wants and needs. “The whole system was very vague and the schedules for the whole semester were set at the beginning, leaving very little flexibility for the students. The teams for each dorm were set in advance by the Intramural Sports Office, no matter if the dorm wanted to play that sport or not.” says Pruett. “If a dorm couldn’t come up with enough players for a game due to scheduling issues, that was too bad, and the game was forfeited.” Dorms not participating led to unpredictable schedules, forfeits and disappointed players.
In addition to a rigid schedule, students were confined to one kind of intramural play, as the system required all teams to be co-recreational (Co-Rec) and made up of students from the same dorm.
When Pruett arrived at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, the program was completely unorganized. “When I came in there was no schedule, so we had to create one on the fly,” says Pruett. The system was also dated. Information about teams and schedules was communicated via email to the “Dorm Reps” in the form of a simple excel spreadsheet.
Due the problems with the old system, Pruett brought in Athleague, an online network designed by college students specifically for setting up intramural sports leagues. Athleague is extremely versatile, as it is connected to Facebook and can automatically send participants emails or text messages to update them changes to their schedule. Athleague also provides a forum in which students can suggest changes or improvements to the intramural program, making it easier for Pruett and his team to respond to students’ wishes.
“The great thing about Athleague is that it was designed by college students for college students,” says Pruett. “It allows us to communicate quickly with the student body and also makes it much easier for students to talk to their friends and teammates about making teams or scheduling issues they might have.” With Athleague, Pruett has also expanded intramural sports beyond dorm competition and has created three new leagues: an all men’s league, an all women’s league, and another Co-Rec league unrelated to dorm competition. Within these leagues of play, Pruett has created A and B divisions to give students the opportunity to compete at a desired level. Pruett has also revamped dorm competition and has created the Dorm Championship Series or DCS, to replace the old system and provide more drama and excitement.
“The DCS is new this year and gives dorm teams the chance to compete for the DCS trophy which is awarded at the end of every semester. It will be awarded using an algorithm called the PASS System which stands for the Participation, Achievement and Sportsmanship Score.” says Pruett.
“The best thing about the new setup is that instead of being confined to just one team, students now have the opportunity to play on three different intramural teams. Now you can have an all male or female team with your friends, an open Co-Rec team, and your DCS team as well.”
Pruett has also modified the rules of each sport to make it more clear to both the players and the referees on how the games should be played. “In the past the rules were pretty simple and set basic guidelines about how the game should be played. What was scary is that referees were given the choice to not call penalties if they thought it would slow down the game,” says Pruett. In past years, flag football allowed physical contact at the line of scrimmage, an issue that posed a serious liability to both the intramural sports program and the school. Now, the rules are set for each sport, and referees are trained to call fouls or penalties that cause a clear disadvantage to the offended team, not just the ones they want to call.
Pruett has big dreams for the CMS intramural program. Ultimately, he wants to bring the intramural program of Pomona-Pitzer into the fold to compete against CMS. That is why he has organized the inaugural CMS, Pomona-Pitzer 3-on-3 basketball tournament on November 5th to test out his idea. “This is the pilot to see if we can try and expand this idea to all the other sports,” says Pruett. “We really want to build the intramural program to be a 5-C program, which would be really cool because it would allow teams to compete on a much broader stage.” Pruett also wants to send teams to regional extramural tournaments for Flag-Football in the fall and 3-on-3 basketball in the spring. The best team from the CMS program for each sport will earn a free trip to a southern-California regional tournament, and if they win that, a trip to the national championships. Pruett says, “I have been a part of these tournaments ever since I was a college student, and I think that it is a great opportunity to get off campus and have a lot of fun.”
In the end, Pruett’s main goal is to make the program about the students and expose them to opportunities that far exceed the walls of the 5 colleges. “We are open to any suggestions that student’s want to make. As long as intramural sports are safe and fun, then we will make it work. Our doors are always open.”
Fore more intramural information or to sign up, visit these links.