Non-semester system leaves little time for intramurals

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DePaul University’s quarter system gives students something to complain about. They get out of school in June when all of the good summer jobs are taken, they get less than a week off for spring break, and it even affects how they play sports.

Intramurals at DePaul are different than they are at most schools since the students who participate are only taking classes 10 weeks at a time. This leads to many difficulties.

“We have 10-week quarters and we can only do a 5-week season and then playoffs,” said Jacob Berent, 22, a former intramural referee at the University of Louisville and now the head basketball referee at DePaul as well as an intramural supervisor. “It is just a short amount of time so a lot of people don’t even notice that intramurals are starting.”

At semester schools this is not the case. They generally have 16-week terms that allow students to have much longer intramural seasons. Giving students a chance to gel with their teammates and improve as the season moves along.

The seasons also mean more when they are longer according to Brooks Demarais, 22, a junior at DePaul who spent his first two years of college playing intramurals at Miami University, a semester school. He says this is because it makes students much more invested in intramurals since they have to commit such a lengthy amount of their time to a sport.

Longer seasons are also better for the referees.

“It’s tough to sit down and get focused for a season that lasts for such a short time span and then shift to something else,” said Berent.

Getting focused is a particular problem when switching to sports such as basketball. Berent says this is because it is hard to get in the mind set of “when you see it happen, blow your whistle right way.” By the time they get into that mind set the season is almost over and a new sport is on the schedule.

The amount of time it takes to schedule intramural seasons is also a difficulty that the quarter system causes. “Because [the terms] are so brief we have to pack a lot in,” said Berent, “especially in the spring when we have softball and flag football and stuff like that. We have such limited field space, which we can only use at certain times. It is difficult because we’re trying to get so much in, in such a small space. We cannot break things up.”

A solution to this could be to allow intramural sports to span over two terms, particularly over the winter and spring when students only have about a week off between them. John Washo, the assistant director of intramurals, has considered this for certain sports, but he has not tried this for two reasons.

First, it allows teams that were not involved in the previous quarter to join the sport since many of DePaul’s sports, such as basketball, are offered for more than one quarter.

Second, there are a large number of students at DePaul who attend night classes, and they might not be able to play in a league on the same night the following term because of a change in their schedule.

Besides, Washo does not believe that length of terms is the biggest difficulty when scheduling intramurals sports at DePaul.

“It has to do with the way the quarter system falls here,” said Washo. “Basically, because DePaul goes so much later than other schools because of the way it’s structured that in the spring it gives students more conflicts.”

This makes it so intramurals have to be scheduled around significant events such as Easter, Mother’s Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend and DePaul’s FEST.

However, there are some advantages intramural sports receive from DePaul’s quarter system.

Students can get used to a regimented system for each quarter. They learn that the first two weeks are for registration, five weeks of games and then one or two weeks of playoffs.

Other advantages are that certain sports can be played more often, such as volleyball, which is played year-round ,and that gives students an opportunity to play a larger variety of sports. But this could change.

As the number of students participating in intramural sports increases DePaul has to use more of its limited court space. And if the more popular sports, such as volleyball, could be offered less or they may have to cap the number of teams that are allowed to participate.

However, Washo does not see this happening in the next year or two, if at all. So for now DePaul intramurals will stay the same. For better or for worse.