The events may look different, but the RecPlex has still had its share of activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.
One question that may have crossed your mind this year is, “Can I still play intramural sports during COVID-19?” Many aspects of the University of Dayton’s campus life have been altered since the pandemic, with competitive sports being one of them. So the answer to your question is yes, but they have been changed in many ways.
Mark Hoying, the Associate Director of Campus Recreation, said, “We have received a great deal of feedback from participants expressing how appreciative they are of opportunities to get out of their room, connect with friends and be active.”
In relation to the guidelines for intramural sports, there have been some changes that have been implemented due to the pandemic.
“The main guideline that is being implemented due to COVID-19 is the implementation of masks. It has been one of the most difficult policies to enforce and with intramural sports being physical activity, it makes it harder to breathe with a mask on,” said Tony Aiello, Competitive Sports Program Assistant.
“Some of the sport specific changes that I have implemented is changing Indoor Volleyball to four vs. four rather than six vs. six, so that there are less people per side of the net within proximity to each other. For outdoor soccer, this year we have also made some changes, such as using lacrosse goals without a goalie to lower the number of people per half to seven,” said Catie Nasman, Competitive Sports Program Assistant.
Hoying mentioned that typically there are 4,100 intramural participants. This year, there are only 3,100 participants.
“We have seen our numbers over the past year that are a little lower than what we have had in the past, but I believe we are still over 75 percent of our normal participation which is huge considering that we are playing intramurals safely through a pandemic,” said Nasman.
Aiello said, “We had to create more sports that had smaller rosters in order to ensure that we conformed to capacity limits and that we were creating a safe environment for students. We also tried to outreach to a variety of groups to widen our participation among students.”
The campus recreation staff had to get creative in order to keep students engaged in physical activity this year. For example, the addition of the ice skating rink in Stuart Field allowed the Human Curling event to occur.
When it comes to mental health, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many students, and physical health plays a major role in mental stability. Thankfully, the inclusion of intramural sports has been beneficial for students during these unprecedented times.
“I feel that intramural sports occurring during the pandemic has been a good way for the younger students to make friends and get out of their residence halls,” said Nasman.
“Intramural sports have been vital to students’ mental health during a time when the challenges of the pandemic have made it very difficult to focus on one’s mental well-being. I think intramural sports have given students an opportunity to gather with one another in-person in a safe manner,” added Aiello.
Of course, intramural sports would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the staff and others involved that made it happen.
Hoying said, “I think that the lengths that UD has gone to offer healthy outlets for physical activity and wellbeing opportunities has been truly remarkable.”
“It might have been easier to simply say “no intramurals this year,” but UD engaged in the difficult work to create a better experience for our students,” he added.