By Ronald Giannetta
Basketball intramurals tip off at the Fresno State Student Recreation Center Feb. 19. Fresno State has been hosting basketball intramurals for students since the 1970s.
Multiple divisions have been set up to ensure balanced games will be played.
Any student who wants to join can participate in a division that best fits their skill level.Intramural sports coordinator Lerin Mundell will be leading and organizing basketball intramurals for her sixth consecutive year.
“We have intramurals going on all year long for sports such as dodgeball, pingpong, and flag football,” Mundell said. “Basketball definitely has the biggest turn out of around 75 teams.”
Once the season starts, games will be played within the three divisions. Five games will be played over the span of five weeks on Mondays through Thursdays.
After the season ends, a single elimination playoff system — lasting until early May — will decide the champion.
Division I offers the most competitive play. Most teams that sign up for division one have either played basketball in high school or during college. They are very familiar with the game and highly skilled.
Division II is usually the most popular of the three divisions. Teams have mixed players on the team consisting of people that are familiar with basketball and also those that are new to the sport.
Division III is the least skilled and competitive of the groups and mainly consists of mostly new comers to the sport. They generally want to play in a real basketball setting with their friends, have fun or just get in some good exercise.
“The team that wins the championship in each division will receive a Fresno State intramurals champion T-shirt,” Mundell said. “These shirts are very coveted and students try all semester to play in the intramurals and win a championship just to get their hands on one of the T-shirts.”
If a highly skilled and veteran team signs up in a weaker division in hopes of winning the championship, they can be moved up and placed into the division that is appropriate for their skill level.
Fresno State senior Danny Siharath has played in the basketball intramurals every year since becoming a student in 2008.
“In 2011 we played in Division II because the time slots they had available fit best with our schedules,” Siharath said. “We won every game in division two by a lot and we were eventually moved up to Division I where we would eventually win it all.”
The intramural staff emphasizes the importance of creating a fair and balanced division for everyone involved.
“If a team is winning every game by more than 20 points, we look closely at the team to see if they really belong in that division or if they should be moved up,” Mundell said. “Some teams may try to play in a lower division in hopes of getting their hands on a champion T-shirt, but we are able to make sure that does not happen.”
Siharath was fortunate enough to obtain a championship shirt after winning division one playoffs in 2012.
“I wear the shirt sometimes when I play pickup games at the recreation center and everyone knows we won last year,” Siharath said.
“It was not so much about winning to get the shirt for me as it was for the bragging rights that came along with winning Division I.”
Taylor Brouwer, a senior at Fresno State, played in Division II the last three years with his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. Brouwer is not playing this year because of conflicting time schedules with his night classes and game times.
“It is really fun to get out there and play with my brothers from the fraternity,” Brouwer said. “Other fraternities play as well so it can be pretty competitive because everyone wants to have the best team among the fraternities.”