Waters: College sports categorization emphasizes team hierarchy

At Geneseo’s Student Organization Expo on Sept. 16, hundreds of clubs and groups advertised and collected interested students’ emails and phone numbers. Some of these groups were labeled as “club sports” while others were labeled as “intramural sports.” Geneseo’s official athletic teams did not even make an appearance. It seems that Geneseo’s athletic groups are in need of further organization and questioning of the hierarchy of college sports. On the Geneseo Athletic Department website there are “Men’s Teams,” “Women’s Teams” and “Intramural” tabs on the page. There is more or less some equality between the number of offerings for male students and female students.

To begin, intramural sports are considered recreational and are governed by the National Intramural Sports Association. Some intramural sports include soccer, volleyball and badminton.

Club sports, on the other hand, are considered recreational but are not governed under the NIRSA. Here at Geneseo, there are 27 registered club sports teams—some co-ed and others strictly single-gender. Club sports include cheerleading, fencing and karate among others.

Sifting through the multiple levels of official, unofficial, intramural and club sports can be overwhelming. Some club sports may be perceived as lesser sports, while intramurals are seen as more legitimate sports. Some students may respect only official National Collegiate Athletic Association teams as sports, but a student who plays a club sport may disagree.

It could be said that it’s simply our society that defines which sports are “real” sports and which sports are simply recreational play. Indisputably, football in the United States will never be topped in popularity by racquetball or quidditch. A general, unspoken consensus could determine whether or not an activity needs to be raised to a higher level simply based on its societal impact based on popularity.

There was a time when baseball was America’s pastime, but it has been ostensibly surpassed by football at the collegiate level. Perhaps society’s attention to an activity determines what we say is a sport and what is not. Perhaps in a few years we could see Geneseo’s quidditch or broomball excel to football’s popularity, but only if they are treated as legitimate sports.

For us here at Geneseo, a sport should be what we choose to make a sport. We should be able to make fencing go intramural or higher if there is the interest. Someday, students should be able to earn college scholarships because of their impressive skills on the quidditch field.

A sport can be any competitive physical activity we love doing together and Geneseo should re-evaluate its internal rankings of the superiority of sports