As McMaster students make their way back to campus, intramurals will be making a subsequent comeback.
Preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, the McMaster University Athletics and Recreation department organized a wide variety of intramural sports on campus for each fall term. These sports ranged from indoor activities such as volleyball, to typical outdoor activities like soccer. This year the intramural program will look different.
For most sports, the number of players on the teams will be limited. This is to mitigate potential community spread and to limit the number of player interactions as much as possible. The sports that are affected by these limitations are soccer, volleyball, basketball and floorball. The number of players per team is different for each sport.
According to the COVID-19 Back To Mac website, those planning for fall intramurals can expect to have a variety of outdoor intramural sports, including soccer, spike ball, ultimate frisbee, touch rugby and softball. These activities were chosen based on safety considerations and the ability to deliver them safely without compromising the experience for students.
Presently, the Athletics and Recreation department have delayed any official announcement regarding the intramurals for the fall term.
“Safety is their number one priority . . . We are still finalizing some protocol details as per the provincial government announcement,” said Peter McComie, the intramural sports coordinator.
Many of these decisions involved the inclusion of vaccine passports around Ontario for non-essential activities, allowing for further close contact between students.
“We must go through the McMaster health and safety channels before we can finalize our departmental plans and put anything out to the public about our recreational programs. Student and participant safety is the highest priority,” explained McComie.
The McMaster Intramural website has since provided further updates, having listed a total of 15 sports for registration throughout the fall. Out of the 16 sports, three of them are remote while the other 13 are going to take place on campus.
The three remote categories of sports are fantasy leagues, E-sports and National Football League picks. Within the E-sports category, FIFA, Madden, Rocket League and chess will be available to players to sign up for.
Every sport will offer a “PlayFun” league which is a division for those who just want to play casually, offering a social and active lifestyle blend. However, sports such as basketball, soccer and volleyball will also offer a “PlayComp” league, which is a division build for those interested in playing in a more competitive and higher effort league.
Thirteen other sports will take place on campus, which include indoor and outdoor activities. The indoor activities include softball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, touch rugby and spikeball. The outdoor activities include innertube water polo, pickleball, badminton, table tennis, volleyball, basketball and floorball.
Pricing for the fall intramurals ranges from free to $120 per team. The remote sports — such as the E-sports leagues or NFL picks — are the cheapest, compared to softball and waterpolo, which are the most expensive at $120 and $110 per team, respectively.
The season length for the fall intramurals differs from sport to sport. The outdoor sports will start in mid-September and will take place until early November due to the challenging weather conditions that occur mid-November onwards. Indoor sports will have their seasons shifted a month later, starting at the end of October and finishing by the beginning of December. However, the remote leagues will take place from September to December.
Registration for the McMaster fall intramurals will begin on Sept. 8 for outdoor sports and remote leagues, whereas indoor registration will begin on Sept. 19. Every student that wishes to participate in this semester’s intramurals can do so through the IMLeagues website by creating an account and registering their team through the portal. If a student doesn’t have a team and wishes to register solo, they can register as a free agent on the website and will be placed into a team.