Intramurals: The forgotten leagues

Why intramural sports are necessary to students on college campuses

More stories from Lucas Semb


Photo by Clara Neupert

Students can opt to be a part of a co-ed team, pictured above, or join a men’s or women’s team. Games are held in the evenings, sometimes as late as 10 p.m.

Due to The Spectator’s weekly coverage of NCAA athletics, the realm of intramural sports is typically left untalked about, yet it deserves some recognition. Some of the best competition takes place in recreation sports. It’s a collection of people choosing to play competitively, solely for the love of the game — not for scholarships, not for popularity, but just because their passion makes them.

Roughly a quarter of the players compiling these leagues could have played collegiately, but either didn’t want to make the time commitment, or chose to focus on education. Probably about another quarter of these players already did compete collegiately, and decided to step down from those duties. The other half of recreation players aren’t particularly skilled, but they just like the challenge that sport provides.

One thing that intramurals allow all of these people is the opportunity to participate in an organized sport again.

“It’s great to play an organized sport again,” said Lucy Wiggert, a third-year student. “After high school, it’s sad knowing your sports years are over. Intramurals is nice because you get to compete again.”

Intramurals have something for everyone. Here at UW-Eau Claire, the options are limitless. A wide variety of sports are offered, both indoor and outdoor, with the formats of men’s, women’s and co-ed. The list of sports includes: softball, basketball, soccer, flag football, volleyball, and even some favorite recess past-times like kickball. For some, this is the first time they are able to try something new, or compete in the sport they love without the pressure of a coach watching their every move. Intramurals offers low stakes but high quality competition.

Just like all competitive sports, though, there is a small fee. At UW-Eau Claire, the majority of teams created cost $50, which comes out to be anywhere from $6-$10 per player, depending on how many players are on the team. This money goes toward paying league referee wages.

Current players throughout the league have expressed their content with UW-Eau Claire’s intramural athletics. Some common benefits they mention are making new friends, exercising in a fun way, getting to take a break from school and getting to be outside.

When it comes to making new friends, UW-Eau Claire’s “free agent” process can help that cause. If someone doesn’t have enough people to create their own team, they can enroll themself as a “free agent” and current teams can invite said “free agent” to join them.

However, for most players, these are just extra benefits that come with the competition. Like any league, the real goal for these intramural athletes is the hardware that can be earned by winning a championship.

“One of my favorite things about intramurals is the shirts and cups you win,” said Trenton Menor, a third-year student. “It’s a nice extra incentive.”

With each league title, players receive some champion rewards. These include T-shirts with the words “Recreation Champion” emblazoned across the front, along with cups that display the same words. Having these prizes helps the players live on as intramural legends.

Outside of all the physical perks of intramurals, it can help improve mental health as well.

According to Psychology Today, 45-60 minutes of exercise a day eases stress and anxiety, and can even improve cases of chronic depression. These outcomes are the most effective when it comes to a college campus. Students are away from their families, getting bogged down with homework, internships and jobs, which takes a toll over time.

“It’s nice to take a break from your day-to-day routine by playing intramurals,” Seth Leavens, a third-year student, said. “It clears your mind from the responsibilities of school.”

Getting involved is simple. Download the IMLeagues app or go to, make an account and connect with a given university’s official intramural page. There, players can register for a league, apply to be a free agent and access stats from any team they played for in the past.

Intramurals continues to remain vital on college campuses, as students of all kinds are accepted there and enjoy them.

Semb can be reached at [email protected].