Intramural introspection: students voice concerns about policies

Makenzie Mason | Lariat Photographer
Groesbeck freshman Chris Rowland plays a game of intramural table tennis Thursday in the McLane Student Life Center.

By James Stockton

At Baylor intramural’s town hall meeting at the end of this semester, there will be plenty to talk about as many students are concerned about escalating problems they see in one of Baylor’s most popular recreational activities.

And like any other level of athletics, at the center of debate are the referees.

Dallas junior Alissa Teo, public relations and intramural chair for the Vietnamese Student Association, has been involved with intramural sports since her freshman year.

Teo said she’s noticed the same problems each year she plays, and most revolve around officiating in games.

Teo recognizes the intramural referees are students, but her frustration is that the referees don’t communicate well with each other during games and are unresponsive to appeals.

Teo said she is not the only person to have problems with those officiating and, in her mind, the problem isn’t getting better.

Neodesha, Kan., senior Ethan Barrett, a senior Student Senator said he wants to help students feel like they have more of a say in intramural policies.

“I was surprised. Everyone I asked had problems,” Barrett said. “What I really want to see is that student concerns are met.”

Barrett is not alone in wanting to improve the Baylor intramural sports program.

Dominque Hill, senior intramurals coordinator, expressed the same desire for improvement when presented with feedback from students.

“We enjoy student feedback because it drives what we do here,” Hill said.

What Hill wants students to understand is being a
referee is no picnic.

“It is a very demanding position,” Hill said. The position is one offered through Baylor’s work-study program.

Hill said it is difficult for many referees because they see the same students they officiate in class the next day, and their officiating may have resulted in a controversial call for the players.

While Teo and Barrett understand this, they see another side of the issue: the student side.

“Players can’t protest judgment calls,” Teo said, adding that since the referees and players are both students the players should have a say as well.

But Hill counters that if the teams made the calls, there would be no need for referees, and as senior coordinator of intramurals, he has to support his officials.

Hill described a training program that is made up of 10 classroom hours of training as well as mock games and preseason tournaments, which give the officials a taste of what to expect during the season.

This training happens at the start of each intramural sport season.

It is also a continual training program, meaning referees are evaluated every two weeks and given feedback on a game-to-game basis.

A majority of officials stay with the program until they graduate. Players understand the stresses that referees face, however, and Teo and Barrett request that players get the benefit of the doubt every now and then.

Teo suggests that instead of instant ejections and disqualifications for profanity, there be a warning given in a game, and during playoffs, more experienced referees should officiate the games.

Baylor intramural policy is reviewed every year, and Hill said if enough students propose a change in policy, the committee will seriously review it.

But he said there’s a reason the current policy, which was enacted 10 years ago, is still unchanged.

“We are a reflection of Baylor, and we have very high standards,” Hill said.