For many former high school athletes, the beginning of college marks the end of their athletic careers, with only a select few lucky enough to continue and compete at the intercollegiate level.
However, thanks to campus recreational programs such as intramurals, students can continue their chosen sport at a highly competitive level.
While the NKU Intramurals Department of Campus Recreation now offers a number of sports ranging from the most popular of flag football and basketball, all the way to Texas Hold ‘Em and Intertube Water Polo, students did not always have so many choices.
Jeremy Chipman, coordinator for Intramural Sports, arrived in the department in 2003 and has been a central figure in those changes for the program.
“Before I started there were only a few sports such as basketball, flag football, softball and soccer, which students could participate in,” Chipman said,” And all of the sports were officiated by outside help.” Since coming to NKU, Chipman said there are now 30 dual, individual and team sports and tournaments for students to enjoy, 7,000 of which participated in the 2005-2006 school year alone.
Each year, the Intramural Department sends teams to compete nationally against teams from different schools in extramural competition. Extramural sports are events that give participants from NKU an opportunity to compete against participants from another school or organization for some type of prize of championship. NKU teams have competed well over the past couple of years, especially in basketball. Most notably, “Team Crunk” winners of the Men’s A league at NKU, advancing to the regional competition in 2005 where they finished second, and also to nationals in 2006 where they also finished second.
In addition to adding a number of available activities, Chipman has also changed the policy to allow student workers as both supervisors and officials in each of the sports. He feels that in doing so it “promotes student development and conflict resolution that students will use when out in the real world and work force.”
Jason Rimmer, a junior from LaGrange, Ky., is the head student supervisor for Intramurals, and has been involved since he entered NKU in 2003. Rimmer, like the rest of Chipman’s staff, is allowed to both work and participate in intramurals. He says that the skills that he has learned because of this have helped him grow tremendously during the past few years.
“Being both a participant and a supervisor has opened my eyes to a lot of different things,” said Rimmer. “As someone who is extremely competitive and who gets very emotional during games, being in a position of having to deal with others like me has helped me to make better judgment decisions.” He also said he feels it was a great decision for Chipman to change the policy and that he hopes others will be able to benefit as he did.
Chipman said that the Intramural Department receives good feedback about the changes they have made, and the options for students. He thinks one of the biggest benefits for students to participate in activities is that it gives students an escape from their everyday stresses.
Also, to come out and compete in sports they love, and also they get to emulate their competitive nature.
The Intramural Department is constantly looking for new and creative ways to market programs within Campus Recreation to the students at NKU. Chipman said that some of his main focuses are to market to NKU’s commuter students so that they spend more time on campus and also to female students. Overall, Chipman likes what he has seen since taking over. “I am satisfied with our participation numbers” Chipman said, “But we can still continue to grow.”