By Max Calderone | Reporter
Baylor’s 2018 intramural basketball season is set to tip off this week. Games will be played four nights a week, Monday through Thursday, at the McLane Student Life Center.
Close to 190 teams are registered across four divisions: Men’s Competitive, Men’s Recreational, Women’s Competitive and Women’s Recreational. Around 1,800 participants are expected to play.
Abbie Lawson, senior coordinator for intramural sports, said she is always impressed by the amount of students who come out to play.
“We have one of the highest percentages of student participation in the nation,” said Lawson. “Last year, we had over 5,500 unique students play at least one sport. That’s almost a third of Baylor’s entire student body.”
This season, teams will play four pool play games before the top two teams from each pool advance to a single elimination playoff bracket. Teams must maintain a sportsmanship rating of 3.0 or higher out of 4.0 to qualify for the postseason. Sportsmanship points are handed out by referees and supervisors at their discretion. All teams begin at a score of 4.0, but may be docked points for arguing calls or using profanity.
Dallas junior Caroline Wieters, who serves as an Intramurals Supervisor, recognizes the importance of being a good sport.
“I think we value sportsmanship a lot more,” Wieters said . “We have a larger emphasis on it because of the Christian values here at Baylor, which makes games more enjoyable for us as officials.”
Games are played according to high school rules, with a closer three-point line and no defensive arc underneath the basket. There are two 15-minute halves, which allows for more games to be played throughout the night.
Currently, Kappa Omega Tau and Pi Beta Phi are leading in the 2017-2018 Intramurals Points Race. KOT intramural chairman Will Ryan is very excited about the upcoming season with an opportunity to earn more points.
“I think we’ve got a pretty deep group of guys and a lot of our teams have a good shot at making playoffs,” Ryan said. “But we’ve got a lot of guys who love to have fun and that’s really what it’s all about.”
Pi Beta Phi holds a commanding lead in the Gold Division for sororities, ahead by 902.5 points. They have won this division in each of the past three years.
KOT is the defending points champion and the current leader in the Gold Division for fraternities by 312.5 points.
“It’s always really fun to compete with the other teams,” Ryan said. “Games are always really close, back and forth.”
Teams and officials are eager to get back out on the court. With referee training complete, expectations are high for the play of athletes and performance of officials.
“I’m excited,” Wieters said. “We just got done with training and the refs this year are stepping it up. They held their own [in training] and got it down. There’s a lot of improvement.”
As for the players, expect some highlight reel plays to be made out on the hardwood.
“I’m excited for a lot of good play,” Lawson said. “Every year there’s a lot of good athletes that I think could have played at lower collegiate levels, but they chose to come to Baylor and get a great education instead. Because of that, I’m always impressed with the athletic plays our students make.”
Games were set to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 16, but were postponed due to inclement weather conditions. Play is expected to resume at 5 p.m. Wednesday.