Changes coming to Whitworth Intramural Program

Changes will be coming to the Whitworth Intramural Sports Program, said intramural coordinator Jordan Dale.

Those changes include an increase in cost of intramurals. The current cost averages $15 per team for most of the team intramural sports.

“Next year we’ll raise it to $25 just to generate a little more revenue and increase commitment to the sports,” Dale said.

Dale cited a lack of commitment from teams as a chief reason for the increase. He is looking to increase that commitment and reduce the amount of forfeits that plague each sport’s season. Dale believes that the current price leaves the economic burden on the team captain. This was a belief echoed by Madeline Ritter, who is now stuck with the bill for the registration of her intramural volleyball team.

“I paid the whole amount and then everyone was supposed to pay me back,” Ritter said. “That didn’t really work out…I still have my list of people that still need to pay me.”

For Brandon Barthell’s Bubble Ball soccer team, there was a similar struggle.

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“I paid. No one’s paid back yet, but I haven’t really worked too hard to make that happen,” Barthell said.

Dale described that process as very much the norm. An incentive for raising the cost of intramurals is to generate more commitment or “buy-in” from team members.

“If you raise it a little bit more, ideally you’ll have more people paying the captain back and then also being involved in the team,” Dale said.

Some intramural players, like Ultimate Frisbee player Matt Goodale, expressed concern over the coming increase in price.

“I would not play,” Goodale said before asking what the increase would cover.

The current team fee does not fully cover the cost of referees. Even the increased price will be subsidized by the $25,000 budget that the Whitworth intramural program is allotted from the Associated Students of Whitworth University budget, Dale said.

As the intramural coordinator, that decision to increase costs is made solely by Dale.

“That’s been a process and something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” Dale said. “I guess you could say this is the first time it’s been officially said.”

The increase will solve a multiple problems that Dale faced during his first year as the intramural coordinator. He is returning to the position for the 2015-2016 school year.

“The charge will basically resolve a lot of complaints this year with people not showing up,” Dale said. “One of the things was the budget for ASWU this year was very tight with a lot of people wanting things and so one of our ways to deal with increasing minimum wage, and we have to respond to that obviously, is to get money from somewhere else and so one of the good places to go is to just raise charges because it’s so cheap already.”

In addition to increasing the average team fee for intramurals Dale is looking to add or modify sports that will be essentially costless and still generate interest.

“Next semester we’re going to try and offer a lot more sports that don’t really require referees,” Dale said. “Like Ping-Pong, where we just have it rotate through dorms, or badminton just set up on Omache.”

Dale said that he is looking to broaden the program by expanding it to areas that will not cost much after they buy the equipment.

Another change Dale is looking to implement is expanding the championship matches that he started this year. This year the intramural basketball championships were held in the Fieldhouse and it was made into a large event. This included an all-star match. Dale hopes to expand that to include an event for volleyball and soccer championships as well.

Ritter’s volleyball team went to the championship both semesters and she thinks that that is an excellent idea.

“I think that’d be awesome,” Ritter said. “The guys that were on my team were on the basketball team [too] and they went to championship for basketball both semesters and we thought that was awesome and we’d always go support them.”

Ritter described the fact that there is more room for people to come and watch and support in the Fieldhouse and was even interested in inviting her parents to her championship matches, but cited the physical constraints of the UREC as a challenge.

One of Dale’s big efforts during his time as intramural coordinator this year was the addition of Bubble Ball soccer. He described seeing it on television, thinking that it looked fun and starting the process to bring it to Whitworth.

“The process is much more in depth than just seeing and buying a bunch of Bubble Balls,” Dale said. “We did a lot of survey stuff. We had to work with facilities to get electricity out on Omache to [be able to] pump them up. We had to make sure there were referees that we were willing to carry the Bubble Balls out there, blow them up, take them down, and bring them back. Especially with a sport like that, it’s very labor intensive.”

Money was also a challenge in the process. Some of the money came from the intramural program’s budget, but the budget for Sports Events and Tournaments also chipped in because the Bubble Balls will also be used for tournaments Dale said. He also requisitioned for funds from ASWU’s general budget to cover the rest of the cost.

Dale described the sport as a success, but also described things he had learned from the process and changes that would be made going forward. This is another area where Dale is looking to cut cost going forward. Describing the 45 minute process of set up and tear down, which is about $30 per day that people are playing per referee when the game is not even going on. It totals to about $2,000 that Dale thinks could be used elsewhere.

“It has been a success, people love it,” Dale said. “One of the things about this sport is that it’s really fun once or twice, and I think that that it’s a quick deteriorate (sic) in entertainment, so a season might be unrealistic in the future going forward.”

Overall as Dale takes on this position for a second year, he is looking to cut costs and maximize involvement in the intramural program.

This is a link to an interactive map of Whitworth’s intramural options.

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