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Faculty members, students team up for intramural sports
lleyFor at least nine years, professors have been able to start their own intramural sports teams and even join existing student teams.
Mike Medina, the associate athletic director of intramurals, started working at Quinnipiac University in 2004, after this rule was put into place.
“Faculty and staff have always been eligible through the guidelines that I know of, through Quinnipiac’s intramural program, to participate in games,” he said.
The volleyball team has more professors than students, whereas the softball team tends to be half students and half professors. Professors and faculty members have the ability to join any intramural team.
The softball team is coed and has been around for about 30 years. Raymond Foery, is the captain of this softball team. He is a professor of Communications in the department of Film, Television, and Media Arts.
“It has been hit and miss,” Foery said. “Often we have had to forfeit because we cannot get enough players. We do recruit a few students, but never more than three, to help us round out the team.”
Foery decided to participate in an intramural sport for the bonding experience and relationships that were created with both fellow faculty and students.
“I have said to my fellow faculty members that I think this activity is as important as anything else we do,” Foery said. “It is a kind of mentoring. We bond with each other and with the students. We enjoy the camaraderie. We like to share this experience in a multi-generational way.”
Michael Vieth is the team coordinator of the coed, Division II volleyball team. He keeps all the players up to date on the games. He has played every semester for the last five years.
Originally, Vieth was asked by two colleagues if he had played the sport before because of his six foot height. At the time, he was an adjunct instructor at QU and two other schools.
“We do it to have fun and get out of the classroom,” he said. “And, it is fun playing against current and former students. They do not think we will be that much of a challenge.”
Vieth said he joined the team with the hopes of connecting with more of the Quinnipiac community.
“I remember playing [volleyball] in college at the fraternity house, and I also thought playing with more QU faculty would create more connections within QU.”
Other colleges and universities allow students and faculty to play together as well, although some have separate divisions based upon how many staff want to participate. Medina said he isn’t sure Quinnipiac will ever be able to have faculty, staff and graduate divisions to play on intramural teams like some other universities because of Quinnipiac’s size.
“With our numbers, we would not have enough teams to run a separate division,” he said. “So we will keep them incorporated and as long as things remain friendly, I do not foresee us changing this rule anytime soon.”
Foery said when the professor teams win, it’s a big deal.
“On the rare occasions when we win, we faculty, most of whom are well over 40 and quite a few over 50, jump and holler as if we had won the World Series,” Foery said. “After all, we managed to beat a group of strong and healthy 20-year-olds.”
Freshman Jared Murgio played against Vieth in one of their games.
“I personally thought it was exciting being able to play with my professor,” Murgio said. “It made it easier to see him as another person and not just a teacher I had.”
Vieth said he doesn’t think there is an issue with faculty and students being on a team or playing against each other, but he does have one exception.
“Once the school day is done, I do not think there is any issue with faculty or staff playing with/against students,” he said. “The one caveat to that; I would not agree to play on a team with a current student.”
Joining an intramural team was Vieth’s way of forming more connections within the Quinnipiac community.
“Most of us who play come for the fun, come back since we win, and it gives us more time to talk to colleagues and friends, outside of a department and university meeting,” Vieth said.
Freshman John Franklin has played against one of his friend’s professors before.
“I think it is interesting,” he said. “It adds a little more competition. You want to go to class and give a little trash talk, it’s fun.”
Franklin also said the age difference between professors and student players doesn’t matter.
“Age does not make much of a difference in intramurals,” he said. “It’s more about talent outplaying talent.”