The University's Department of Athletics will create a separate playoff tournament reserved for intramural teams within the housing system as part of a series of new measures to improve the quality of its IM sports, according to intramural program director Tamsen Burke.
The changes are a response to tension between house teams and independent teams, many of which have been registering as undergraduate houses, stacking talent from all over campus, and then running up the score on the unsuspecting competition. While the new proposal continues to allow competition between independent and house teams, it also clarifies house membership eligibility rules.
The new measures will take effect at the start of the quarter after a final vote by housing officials this month.
Burke also announced the creation of two new sports, which she hopes will catch on in the same way that broomball, an ice hockey game using brooms, caught on two years ago. The sports, inner-tube water polo and a not-so-serious version of a swim meet that supposedly includes a splashing contest, are expected to make use of the new pool space in the recently completed Ratner Athletic Center.
Another new feature in Chicago intramurals will be the introduction of the House Cup. The trophy, which is similar in nature to the House Cup from the ubiquitous Harry Potter series of children's books, would sit in the halls of the winning house each year. Houses will receive participation points for every team they field and will get bonus points for regular season and playoff wins. Points will also be awarded to those who participate in dual or individual intramural activities.
The practice of allowing teams to pick their own leagues based on students' schedules will remain in place in an effort to ensure maximum participation, though Burke cautioned teams not to sign up late. "If [houses] don't sign up in time, they may get stuck in an independent league," Burke said.
In previous years, house teams in independent leagues were given automatic playoff bids. This year, however, such teams would have to play one another for the right to enter the residence hall tournament.
Resident heads and assistant resident heads rejected a proposal to divide the housing system into four divisions based on the relative size of each house, citing the fact that small houses are often very competitive and can hold their own against teams from the larger houses.
Burke also mentioned that the intramural office is very much interested in hiring a new group of students to officiate games.