Intramurals struggle with low participation

By Matthew Fowler, A&E Editor

Leaders at Newman are still trying to get an intramurals program off the ground even though they’ve battled low participation in the past.

But Josh Schoenecker-Prilliman, director of student activities, said he is still hopeful that attendance can be increased.

So far this year, intramural events hosted by Student Life have included ping pong, cornhole, and dodgeball. Last year’s intramural events included sand volleyball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and basketball.

But getting good participation can be tough, especially because many coaches don’t want their athletes competing out of fear they’ll be injured.

“Coaches invest much time, energy, and scholarships to their athletes,” said Associate Athletics Director and Compliance Director Maureen Rohleder. “The risk of injury in an intramural sport is not a risk they want to take.”

Junior Haleigh Pearson said that she participated in all of the intramurals offered last year. One idea, she said, would be to offer intramurals year round so that athletes could compete when they aren’t in season.

“This is how I met many of my friends today,” Pearson said. “This helped me meet new people that I would have never met otherwise. This was also a place where I could compete and have fun with my friends without all the pressure. It was nice to get away from the homework.”

Schoenecker-Prilliman said he was still hopeful that solutions could be found that would help increase student involvement in intramurals.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to a matter of interest,” Schoenecker-Prilliman said. “I am looking forward to working with SAAC (Student Athletes Association Committee) because they have come forward about students wanting to have more intramural events, so I believe the collaboration will actually be a huge piece of changing the current climate of those events.”

Schoenecker-Prilliman also said that an important factor in planning intramural events is knowing what students are passionate about..

“I just want to remind everyone that if there is something that you wish was happening more or something that you haven't seen, then please come see me in my office, please come talk to me,” Schoenecker-Prilliman said. “I can shoot from the hip all day trying to make things happen, but I would rather build things that students want to be a part of. I need your feedback and your ideas to make this place the best it possibly can be.”

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Newman University