Over the last decade Colorado College intramurals have frequented Princeton Review’s Top 20 “Everyone plays intramurals,” and placed in College Prowler’s Top 10 in best intramural sports rankings. What makes those statistics particularly impressive is matching our rankings to our budget. Intramurals cost, at the very most, $48,800 a year, according to Chris Starr, Director of Intramurals, Club Sports, and Wellness. Last year at CC, 1,521 students participated in intramurals, and so the annual cost of the intramural program, the same as only a single student’s annual tuition, seems insignificant considering the impact IMs have on the community.
The operating cost is $8,400, which accounts for the balls, pads, cones, pictures, and the ever-important championship t-shirts. The remaining $48,400 goes back to the students in referee salaries at $9 an hour. So, much of the money comes back to us.
“We need to fill work study jobs, it’s not just money out the door,” Starr said.
Many students love to be a part of the IM atmosphere in more than one way.
“It’s pretty easy to get hired if you just apply. Just talk to Chris Starr,” said Anthony Hyatt, former DIII soccer player, about how he got his job.
While some students use their pay for everything ranging from books to beer, other students referee to contribute back to their club team.
“The way the Frisbee team runs [intramurals] is that we take the proceeds and use it for travel and Frisbee team expenses,” said Dan Eppstein, one of the team’s captains.
So the low cost of the IM budget is running through the community and has something of a trickle-down effect in the club sports community.
IM also provides a community for former DIII players at each sport, as teams with DIII athletes are not allowed to have a club team in that same sport.
“It’s hard coming from high school and club teams, where you start and play all the time, to moving to the bench with seniors and others playing above you,” said Dan Herz, IM soccer supervisor and former DIII soccer player. “[IM soccer] gives me an opportunity to play with friends at a less competitive level where it’s more about having fun, and not about the extreme commitment that DIII requires.”
What is more, our competition on the field creates more competition in the admissions office. The investment is paying off.
“It’s a selling point of the college,” said Associate Director of Admission Matt Bonser. “So many students looking at CC are looking to be active without necessarily going to practice. That mix of activity and competition is certainly great for us.”
“During interviews, I mention that we have IM sports to some athletes who aren’t sure they want to play DIII, and they are excited to hear that we have great IMs,” said Ariana Glantz, IM soccer referee and admissions fellow.
It comes down to that demand for competition.
“You guys are competitive in the classroom, why wouldn’t you be out on the field? You guys need an outlet, and a diverse program,” Starr said.
Still, Starr does not expect expansion of the club program any time soon.
“The issue with expanding is that we have a fixed student body,” she said.
While facilities are minimal, the real constraint is the number 2,026, our current enrollment. Starr explained that, in block two alone, students are playing outdoor soccer, flag football, volleyball, and a kickball tournament. Block three will include all of those and ice hockey, but the kickball tournament will be replaced by a dodgeball tournament.
On the other hand, she does not expect any downsizing either. She is only thinking about ending the open softball league, as it only had five teams last season, a change she explained was likely due to the growth in the coed division.
In a time when money is tight, it’s amazing what only $48,800 can do for our college.