Andrew Ford

Local women’s high school basketball stars play in Leggett & Platt Athletic Center Wednesday night. According to Landon Adams, freshman marketing major and intramural supervisor, five-on-five basketball often has the highest level of competitiveness because many past high school basketball players sign-up for the tournament.

For students looking to harness their competitive side, intramural sports may just be the best way to let them flow.

Additionally, students looking for a way to meet new friends can also find a new home. In fact, there’s still time left to play in five different sports before the spring semester is over.

The application deadline for softball teams has been extended to Wednesday, with four-on-four flag football, two-on-two sand volleyball, mini golf and par three golf tournament rounding out the year.

Intramural sports are a good way for incoming students to get acclimated to college life, which may include giving up playing varsity sports.

“I just came out of high school, I loved playing sports in high school, and this was a cool chance to get to play sports again,” Kevin Hauck, 21, a senior physical education major from St. James and the intramurals coordinator said.

Landon Adams, 18, freshman marketing major from Carl Junction said being active in intramural sports can lead to increased health, too.

“There’s the health standpoint,” he said. “Healthier people usually wind up being happier people.”

“Not everyone gets the opportunity to play college sports. A lot of times the ones who love it the most are the ones who can’t (play),” Adams said.

Though the numbers aren’t usually as high as they are for students, faculty can get in on the rebounds, tackles and birdies too.

Hauck said faculty have played in intramural soccer, bowling and racquetball.

The intramural program hours are decided by when the teams can play, but generally it means sports are played in afternoons and evenings, from 3-10 p.m., with basketball running the latest.

Hauck said the most competitive sport is usually five-on-five basketball, which is winding down its season right now.

Basketball might be the most competitive because it brings out a lot of current Southern athletes or because so many former high school basketball players come out.

During the 2005 season there was a lot of talk about arguable calls from referees, so in 2006 Southern attempted to implement a more gentlemanly version of five-on-five that included leaving out referees and calling your own fouls.

A season later, the referee’s were back.

Adams said the referees aren’t officially sanctioned judges, they’re students.

“People need to realize that they’re just college students trying to get a little extra money,” he said. “If they want to come out and be a referee they can sign up.”

Due to construction on Billingsly Student Center, prospective students can now sign up for sports by either dropping off a team sign-up sheet on the bottom floor of Kuhn Hall or by joining the MSSU intramural group on Facebook.

For a red shirting defensive end, intramural sports is the only way they’ll see the field before their sophomore year.

For Brandon Dean, a 19-year-old undecided major from Kansas City, five-on-five basketball is an opportunity to be competitive in a place other than the practice field or weight room.

“Well, not everyone is good that plays, so it’s a good time to just relax and not be so serious and have a little fun,” he said. “When you’re playing (varsity level) for the school, it’s not the same thing.”

As a referee, Dean has seen a mix of both competitive and less than competitive intramural groups.

Dean said that though most teams didn’t practice for five-on-five basketball, there are some that seem to practice plays before the tournament.

Another slice of teams are those that pretend to orchestrate plays as the game goes on, just for laughs.

According to Dean you can break down types of teams into two categories: teams that are playing to win and teams that are playing just to do it.

Sometimes the teams that are in to win can get heated.

“They’ll get angry and I’ll be like, dude, it’s just intramurals,” he said. “All you’re going to get is a shirt.”