They may be designed in part as recreational activities, but that doesn’t stop some athletes from being too aggressive on during intramural sports events.
About 10 to 15 Michigan State University students are suspended each semester due to misconduct, said Ross Winter, assistant director for Intramural Sports at Michigan State University.
Winter said it’s unfortunate those few negative events happen because research has shown participation in IM activities correlates with higher GPAs and improved student retention.
“We find most misconduct are in men’s flag football, soccer and basketball,” Winter said. “We’re still looking at 18- to 22-year-olds with previous competitive experience.”
Chad Collins, a senior at Michigan State, played intramural sports throughout his college career and has received an unsportsmanlike penalty.
“It’s hard sometimes to stay focused and pay attention to all of the rules. You get really involved in playing and your emotions aren’t always in check, “ Collins said. “I played high school, and I take the sport very seriously even if it’s flag football.”
MSU senior Nick Bonaccini, who has also been banned from IM sports in the past for misconduct, criticized IM staff for banning players after only one incident. He said that’s too strict.
“It’s a little ridiculous, you know,” Bonaccini said. “There’s one little scuffle where the players end it quickly and shake hands, yet both get banned from IM sports for the rest of their time at state. The system is a little out of whack.”
He said students should get a better “trial” or at least have a way to play IM sports after a suspension.
“I’ve seen a few scuffles in my day,” said Masen Pieters a former MSU student and IM sports official. “Nothing too crazy. Just a few hot heads and flareups, but both sides have always been able to keep playing.”
Pieters has never ejected players from a game but has seen some of his colleagues have to handle tough situations.
“People just need to relax,” Pieters said. “I get it that some people have a really competitive side, me being one of them, but this is IM sports. If you take it that serious then you should probably be playing on a club team or some other team that’s not affiliated with the school.”