Once the pinnacle of Bob Jones University athletics, intramurals have taken a smaller, yet still significant, role on the campus of BJU.
Before the introduction of intercollegiate athletics at Bob Jones University, intramurals were the highest level of athletic competition on campus. Twice, the University pulled together their top intramural players in men’s soccer, one of whom is the new Bruins men’s soccer coach Matt Hotchkin, and played games against Furman University.
The first game against Furman University, in the late ’90s, was won 1-0 on a penalty kick from Furman. The second game took place a couple of years before intercollegiate sports were brought to BJU. Furman won the second game 7-0. Because intramurals were so competitive, if a society member did not make the team, they did not play that sport.
Today, both men’s and women’s intramurals are split into two leagues that differ in purpose: championship and recreational. Those who do not make the championship team or who choose not to play at that level are given the chance to play for their society’s recreational team.
According to the director of intramurals, Mike LeViere, intramurals fill a role of allowing the general student population to compete, build relationships and have fun playing sports without the commitment and competitive level of a Bruins intercollegiate team. LeViere said this year has seen a shift in the participation in intramurals; more players signed up for the recreational leagues than the championship leagues.
The number of men signed up for the men’s basketball recreational league nearly doubled the number for the championship league. In addition to adding players, BJU intramurals also added a few new recreational sports this year: racquetball, pingpong and badminton.
These individual sports were run differently. The scheduled game time for these sports was Sunday at midnight. For record keeping, IMLeagues requires a game to be scheduled online, but the game did not need to be played at that specific time. Throughout the week, contenders scheduled a time to play and then recorded the scores once the game finished. This allowed students more flexibility for one-on-one games.
BJU intramurals are morphing into the traditional intramurals of other universities, where everyone is encouraged to participate on a recreational level, according to LeViere.
However, intramurals are competitive while also making it possible for anyone interested in participating to play at a recreational level.