Until recently, Covid-19 had been defeating campus participation in the most demoralizing of ways. This all changed when the intramural basketball season kicked off this past week. Over 20 teams signed up to participate in the preliminary exhibition games to determine their post-season tournament standings. This would be the first intramural event of the 2020-21 school year that came with no play restrictions such as team size and game length. Basketball and flag football are easily the two most popular intramural events held on campus. Flag football held the fall semester down and students and faculty alike were able to enjoy 4v4 competition as opposed to the usual 7v7 games due to social distancing and Covid-19 setbacks. Basketball however was given the green light to be carried out in full force during the spring semester. Head of all campus intramural and club sports David Gardner said, “It feels really good to be able to offer sports in a normal way, or at least the new normal way.” With everything going on in the world regarding the infamous corona virus, it seems like our current way of living life is becoming the new norm. Being able to get things even remotely close to how they were is all everyone really wants so something as minuscule as a regular intramural basketball season is considered a pretty large win for students. Intramural Supervisor and current student Noah Basinger said, “I’m just happy we get to do something without all the regulations and restrictions we had to go by last semester… It’s refreshing!” The word “Refreshing,” is a great way to describe the change of pace being able to play regularly is to students who are involved with intramurals in general. This definitely gives hope that the remainder of the sports and activities held this year will be carried out in a more traditional way than the other events offered earlier this school year. While masks and social distancing are still enforced and encouraged students and faculty are still more than welcome to sign up for any future events here at OBU.
The first two weeks of the Covid era basketball season will give each team the opportunity to show their skill level by way of two exhibition games. Based on the performance of the teams and their opponents, teams will be seeded and placed in different tournament brackets accordingly. Gardner as of current has not finalized the tournament format but more than likely there will be two to three different brackets for teams of different skill levels. The men’s bracket has significantly more teams signed up to participate so the various teams being evaluated will need to bring their A-game if they hope to be placed in the A league bracket. The women’s league is only comprised of 4 teams so they will be able to familiarize themselves with the competition as they will see the same couple of teams throughout the entirety of the season. Games will consist of two 20 minute halves and a two minute overtime if necessary.
Gardner hopes to implement a double-elimination tournament meaning a team must lose two games to be completely knocked out of contention for the championship. The season is meant to last about 3 weeks given circumstances allow it. Student and participant Bryce Birt said, “I honestly can’t wait to play, I love basketball and it is always a fun time being able to play with friends and compete against others.” Plenty of other students shared Birt’s excitement as participants and spectators alike piled into the RAWC to watch the initial exhibition games held last Tuesday.