Intramurals Go Virtual

Santa Clara’s wildly popular intramural sports program adapts for quarantine.

Intramurals Go Virtual
NBA 2K20 cover art. / Image courtesy 2K Sports.

Problem: How do you keep Santa Clara University’s wildly popular intramural sports program going during a pandemic? Solution: Stretch your thumbs, ice your palms, and get out your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One game console. That’s how Campus Recreation met the shelter-in-place challenge, launching its Virtual IM Leagues in the days leading up to Spring Quarter, which took place entirely online.

“We had a very short window of opportunity,” says Colin Allison, formerly with Campus Recreation, who quickly emailed a survey to hundreds of IM participants to gauge player interest and preferred e-sports. More than 181 responses later, Allison got his answers: battle video games like “Call of Duty,” “League of Legends,” and “Rainbow Six” were the top picks. Their themes of death and destruction don’t really mesh with SCU’s Jesuit values, however, so competitive sports video games were proposed instead.

Ultimately, Santa Clara’s seven Virtual IM League teams competed in NBA2K20, Madden NFL 20, and FIFA 20, as well as online board games like chess. Overall feedback has been positive. “Students said they enjoyed doing things with their friends and meeting new people on campus,” says Allison. The University’s intramural program will remain virtual for the Fall 2020 quarter.

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