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New Intramurals Format: More Sports, More Skills — and Free!

Teams battle Monday night on the soccer field for the right to play in tonight's Flag Football Super Bowl in Casey Stadium. (Photo by Kaarlo Luntta)

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 1, 2015) — When Super Smash Bros and The Fratletes face off at 8:30 tonight in Casey Stadium for the Flag Football Super Bowl, it culminates the inaugural semester of a revamped intramurals program. At the very least, the new format serves many more student tastes in recreation, saves students some money, and probably — though players arguing close calls will never fade from the scene — has raised officiating to a much higher standard.

“The two biggest changes this year are the length of the schedule and the additional training for our student officials,” said Sam Axley, who became director for Campus Recreation and its 2,500-student intramurals program 15 months ago. After looking over what was standard in UAlbany intramurals for at least the past 50 years (the first intramural association was established on the new, now Downtown, campus in 1909), Axley saw the need for a makeover.

“We’d been offering six sports in the fall, six in the spring, all with the same signup deadline, and they ran 11 weeks together — football, outdoor soccer, tennis, etc.,” said Axley. He noted that the old schedule made it difficult for many students to commit to participating in time for the first games. If they couldn’t field a team in the first week, they were out of luck for all eleven.

So, Axley and Assistant Director Marissa Allen reduced the schedules to four weeks’ time, with potentially two more for playoffs. In doing so, they raised the sports and activities from 12 to 30, giving students more options for activities in which to participate. Outdoor soccer ran from early September to the second week of October, whereupon flag football took over with a four-game schedule, plus playoffs (tonight’s is the eighth game for the football finalists).

In addition to traditional offerings such as flag football, soccer, volleyball and softball, students can now exercise their passions for things such as kan jam, ladder golf, corn hole, wiffleball, and table tennis (a one-day tournament). The entry fees of $60 to $70 for teams were eliminated.

However, the change Axley, Allen and graduate assistant Will Adams may be most pleased with is the quality of the officiating. “Marissa and Will have worked very diligently to improve the skill set of our student officials, and I have to say they have made wonderful strides this semester,” said Axley. He noted that officials get together at the end of regular seasons and make sure that only teams exhibiting the true UAlbany Way — good sportsmanship — enter the playoffs.

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