Teams must average three points out of four to compete in postseason play
Class is in session for intramural sports participants at CU this year. And the grades being handed out have nothing to do with the scoreboard, but with sportsmanship.
In an effort to clean up intramural sports at CU, the intramural staff has implemented a grading system that rates every team who participates in intramural play based on their level of sportsmanship.
The staff first experimented with the sportsmanship guidelines during last year’s spring open session for men’s basketball. After seeing how successful it was, the staff decided to implement the rules for all sports beginning this school year.
“The main reason behind implementing the rule was to make it a lot safer for the players and the officials,” said Annie Mulvany, the Intramural Coordinator at CU. “We are trying to curb the profanity, the abuse towards the officials and other players. We want the team captains to take more responsibility for their team.”
Mulvany, who is in her first year as the IM Coordinator for CU, was the one who decided to implement the system full-time but said a lot of other universities have similar sportsmanship guidelines for their intramurals.
Each team receives a grade based on a zero-to-four scale, with zero meaning a team showed complete disrespect toward the officials and the opposing team. A four reflects exemplary sportsmanship. A three is awarded to teams who argue with officials but show only minor dissension, and a two is rated as average sportsmanship by a team with the captain showing little control over his squad.
The score each team receives following its game is decided by the officials for that contest. Once the officials decide a team’s score, the team captain must sign off on the ruling. The rule seems to have had a positive impact on IM sports thus far.
“The games are going much better than they were before the rules were put in,” said Georgia Angelo, a senior political science major who has been supervising IM sports this year but has been involved in them since she was a freshman. “Once we experimented with the men’s open basketball, we found that the games went much more smoothly and that the respect towards the officials was much better.”
While Mulvany and her supervisors are pleased with the success of the sportsmanship guidelines, some would like to see a system that grades referees.
“The actual rule doesn’t bother me much. The only problem I have is when an official makes a bad call – and my teammates argue – then we get technicals and a bad sportsmanship score,” said senior engineering major Joe Kozlowski. “What if they don’t know what they’re doing? We can’t grade them.”
Mulvany understands that it is natural for some players to not always agree with a referee’s call, but IM participants need to remember that the ref’s are adjusting to a new system too.
“We talked to them (the referees) about it but first off they thought it was a lot of work. It added some work for them, but once they got organized and understood the whole process, they have been happy with the results,” Mulvany said. “It’s not that we don’t expect people to have disagreements. We just don’t want it to get to a point where it’s going to continue, continue and continue. We know that people are going to get upset with calls but we want them to go about it the right way.”
The ratings system makes it mandatory that a team has an average score of three in order to play in that session’s playoffs, thus making it imperative that a team honor the grading system.
“If they’re not going to be strict with the rules, then there is no point in having them,” said senior sociology major Jeff Waterman who has played intramurals every year since he has been at CU. “I think a three gives a team a little leniency and if you get consistently under a three I don’t think you deserve to go to the tournament.”
The guidelines are altered once a team makes it into their tournament. As opposed to the regular season when a team can receive a zero and still have a chance to play on, in the tournament a team receiving a sportsmanship rating of a zero is automatically eliminated from the playoffs.
“As a person who has officiated, I can’t stand people who talk back consistently so I definitely side with the intramural office on this one,” Waterman said.