‘It’s kind of a fluid situation’: Intramural sports adjust to COVID-19

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An intramural referee watches two players try to gain control of the ball during an indoor soccer match at the rec on November 7, 2018. This year, contact sports will not be played due to COVID-19. (Archive photo by Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

As COVID-19 continues to change the way Kansas State operates, intramural sports — while still scheduled to be held — are going to look different.

Currently, the Peters Recreation Complex is in phase two of its reopening plan. Under this phase, the Rec does not have any type of programming — including intramural sports.

Phase two is set to wrap up on Sept. 4, prior to Labor Day weekend. Sept. 8 marks the beginning of phase three of the Rec’s reopening plan. Then intramural sports can begin.

Even though intramural sports are scheduled to be played, the Rec will focus on individual and doubles sports — such as tennis, racquetball and disc golf — rather than team sports such as flag football and ultimate frisbee.

“We’ve really tried to plan the schedule in a way that gives us the most flexibility to do what we want, knowing that we can’t do team sports. Everything we’ve tried to put on the schedule focuses on minimal contact and small numbers,” assistant director for intramural sports Armando Espinoza said.

Currently, the schedule for intramural sports only includes the month of September. Espinoza said this was done because anything can change during the reopening process.

“We took our traditional individual and double events in fall session one and spring session two and put them in the month of September in the hope that we can go ahead and proceed with those,” Espinoza said.

Sports are planned to begin — at the earliest — on Sept. 9, the day after Recreational Services plan to move into phase three of the reopening process. However, Espinoza said this could change.

“It’s kind of a fluid situation,” Espinoza said. “We have to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that we go to phase three. We can also go to phase three and go back to phase two, depending on the numbers.”

Esports and online trivia are part of the back-up plan in case phase three is pushed back and in-person sports can’t be held.

“I feel confident in saying that we can operate those regardless of what phase we are going to be in,” Espinoza said.

Students can play esports with their own set of consoles and games as well as an internet connection. Players can schedule matches against other players and report the results of each game through IMLeagues.

Trivia and other activities would be held through Zoom and Kahoot. Students would need to sign up for those activities through IMLeagues as well.

If phase three does happen and in-person activities are allowed, individuals participating must still abide by all recreational services procedures in place. These procedures include temperature checks, face coverings, social distancing and the proper sanitation of all equipment used.

With high contact team sports not on the schedule at the moment, Espinoza said if they are allowed to bring back a sport missed earlier in the year, they would try to make it happen.

“The hidden drawback of not having our traditional schedule is missing a year of development with our staff,” Espinoza said. “Our intent is if we are given a green light, how can we reintroduce a sport that we missed in a season.”

Even with the uncertainty of it all, Espinoza is still encouraging students to get involved if they are interested.

“It’s a challenging environment, we obviously want to go full board but we have to do it safely within parameters of university guidelines and Rec guidelines,” Espinoza said. “What I would encourage is, if anybody is interested, reach out to us specifically with any questions you might have.”

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Hey! I’m Cameron Bradley and I am the sports editor for the Collegian! I am a junior from Wichita, Kansas, and I am majoring in journalism. When I’m not working for the Collegian, I’m creating content and putting on broadcasts with K-StateHD.TV. I am also currently a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. I love sports, spending time with friends, family and doing everything that I do for the glory of God!