Intramurals by the numbers

Joseph Schulz, Managing Editor

UW Oshkosh has seen a 41.5% decline in intramural participation from the 2012-13 season to the 2018-19 season, which Rec Plex Coordinator Patrick Marcoe attributes to more options on campus for students to stay active.

During the 2012-13 season 5,300 people participate in intramural sports, whereas only 3,098 participated last school year.

“People recreate a little bit differently nowadays; there’s some work that has to be done in terms of creating a team,” Marcoe said. “Sometimes it’s just easier to maybe go to a group exercise class or just have an open play type thing for basketball.”

He added there’s multiple variables each year that affect participation, making it hard to pinpoint exactly what’s been causing the decline.

One variable Marcoe mentioned was enrollment numbers. He said sports are cyclical and that in 2012 there was a bigger senior and freshman class.

“They kind of stayed on for a number of years after that,” Marcoe said. “Then they graduated and then we’re starting fresh.”

UWO senior Austin Delaney started working for intramurals three years ago, and has seen the decline in participation first-hand.
“It just seems like participation has gone down and then the people who normally would be in a competitive league are trying to like go down to like intermediate or rec [leagues],” Delaney said.
Intramural participation did increase by 8.5% last year, going from 2,833 participants during the 2017-18 season to 3,098 participants during the 2018-19 season.

Marcoe hesitated to be optimistic that last year’s participation gain would become a trend.

“We’ll kind of see how it goes [this year],” he said.

Marcoe added that intramural staff and officiating crews have had an increased tabling effort this year, setting up shop in the residence halls.

“We’re really trying to meet students where they’re at to get them the information that we have,” Marcoe said. “Word of mouth is the way most people find out about it.”

Delaney has been tabling and said students don’t seem interested in intramurals anymore.

“People going by are like, ‘Nah, I’m not really interested, I don’t play sports,’” Delaney said. “People just kind of either brush you off, or most of them walk by with headphones on.”
Marcoe said more students should participate in intramurals because it gives them a chance to meet new people.

It’s all about socializing, getting together with your friends, playing other people and just having fun,” Marcoe said. “It’s really a great way to meet people.”

When Marcoe was enrolled at UW-La Crosse, he started an intramural soccer team shortly after transferring.

“I took it upon myself just to get some people together that were also looking, [and] admittedly we were terrible but it was still fun,” Marcoe said. “It was just fun to play even though we were not the greatest team in the world.”

Delaney participated in intramurals when he went to UW-Whitewater, as both a player and referee.

“I was only there for two semesters, but I had fun doing it,” Delaney said.

After transferring to UWO, he started working as a referee for UWO intramurals.

“I think it’s the best on-campus job,” Delaney said. “The staff is awesome, [and] the people are super friendly.”

Despite the dip in intramural participation compared to the 2012-13 season, Delaney said he still has a lot of fun working for intramurals.

“It’s a lot more laid back than competitive sports; even in the competitive leagues, it’s a little more laid back,” Delaney said.
He added that when fewer people participate, fewer games are scheduled and fewer referees are needed to officiate, which can increase the financial burden on intramural referees.

“We lose hours because of it … No matter where you live, when you’re in college it’s always hard to pay rent,” he said.
Students interested in participating in intramurals can sign up at