UI’s intramural sports adjusting fall plans amid COVID-19

Intramural services will not offer any in-person team sports during the fall semester, but individual and virtual activities are still available.


Raquele Decker

Skyler Gibbons, a member of the UI Dance Club, performs at the SHOUT event on October 17, 2019.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Intramural sports at Iowa will look very different this year.

Because of COVID-19, no intramural in-person team sports are going to be offered this semester, Associate Director of Sport Programs and Recreation Services Matt Schaefer said. Those sports include flag football, volleyball, and basketball. Any in-person intramurals are limited to individual contests, and students will have to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Iowa recreation services have divided their offerings into three different categories: in-person events, play-by sports, and virtual events.

In-person events include individual badminton, table tennis, horseshoes, cornhole, and 3-point shootout and hotshot contests. All equipment will be cleaned in between each student using them, Schaefer said.

“Our staff will be on site to help with cleaning supplies and cleaning equipment,” said the associate director. “We feel that those in-person events, things are going to be cleaned pretty well to the risk of COVID is going to be very miniscule, if any at all.”

Play-by sports are scheduled by intramural services, but opponents play each other on their own. Intramural services offer many different esports in this category, including Madden 2020, Overwatch, and FIFA.

Intramural services are also offering virtual-only events. Students can participate in fantasy football, geocaching, fishing, a distance running challenge, or a virtual 5K. Participants in the 5K will have a month to run as many five-kilometer distances as they want, and the person with the lowest time will win the race.

RELATED: Iowa athletics pauses all workouts amid COVID-19 outbreak

On Aug. 27, the UI announced that all student organizations, including intramural sports clubs, would be virtual for the fall semester. This brought many plans to a halt.

“Earlier on this summer, we were hoping to have a normal semester for sport clubs,” Schaefer said. “But with COVID getting worse over the summer. . . the university came out with, ‘Well, the teams can’t travel or compete, but they can still practice in person.’

Schaefer went on to say that before mandating virtual-only meetings, about half of the clubs were planning on remaining active.

The UI Dance Club has taken its own approach to the pandemic. Instead of shutting down, is shifting gears to teaching classes virtually. Typically, the club holds 16 classes a week at the Field House.

“Our plan for now is that we’re going to keep a regular class schedule, Sunday through Wednesday, and it’ll be all on Zoom,” club President Skyler Gibbons said.

The clubs’ recruitment has also gone online. Instead of finding new members by tabling events during On Iowa, it has relied on social media and a virtual information session that is being held next week.

All of the events that the UI Dance Club usually hosts or participates in are up in the air as well. In a typical year, they have performances at Iowa Wild and Iowa Wolves games in Des Moines. They also hold a benefit show every April to raise money for charity.

Right now, the club is looking into holding its benefit show virtually, but is still hoping that when April comes around, it will be able to have an in-person show.

“We have a reservation for our show in the IMU right now, but it’ll just depend on where campus is at next semester.” Gibbons said.

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