Questions raised over future of intramural sports

Last Friday night, a new kid moved into the neighborhood. His name is Intercollegiate Athletics. He even brought his own ball to play with, and all the local kids are excited to have him in town.

The Bruins have taken over the playground on the athletics side of campus life.

Which leaves a pretty big question: Who cares about society sports anymore? Will they continue to thrive, or will they fade away like a Popsicle on a July afternoon?

Coach Neal Ring, BJU’s athletic director and men’s basketball coach, and Coach Mike LeViere, BJU’s director of intramural sports and women’s basketball coach, have similar outlooks on the future of intramural sports. Both coaches insist that the purpose of the intramural sports program will remain the same: to provide students with the athletic opportunities they desire.

Intramural sports allow students not yet on the Bruins teams to gain experience and prove their skill, as well as just have fun. They also help to build unity within societies.

Coach LeViere confirmed that the schedule for intramural sports this year remains the same. The men’s soccer championship game, affectionately known as the Turkey Bowl, will remain the intramural championship game, said Dr. Gary Weier, executive vice president for academic affairs.

Still, there is no doubt that intercollegiate athletics will have a large impact on society sports.

“The climate on campus has changed,” Coach Ring said. “When I was here for three semesters, there were a thousand people at the Friday night [intramural] game. Nowadays, you don’t see that any more. [The University] is ready for an intercollegiate team.”

This change in climate was most evident last Friday night when almost 7,000 people filled Alumni Stadium for the inaugural games and more than 4,000 others watched via live webcast.

The attitude among students on campus also reflects this change. While some students don’t plan to go to any of their society’s sporting events, others are excited about the upcoming intramural season and have set goals for their personal athletic performance.

One thing is certain about the future of intramural athletics at BJU. When asked if anybody still cares about society sports, Coach Ring responded on behalf of the entire BJU athletic department and university family with an emphatic answer: “We do.”