Intramural sports highlight John Carroll’s return to campus


Kaitlyn Novicky

The Intramural Sports Champions from the John Carroll University Basketball League

Ashley McCall, Staff Reporter

John Carroll University is the home of around 700 varsity student-athletes, who compete on 21 different sports teams. 

These individuals continue to find success in all levels of competition, but would it shock you to learn that there is an even bigger group of students who participate in sports on campus?

In just the 2021-22 academic year, over 890 participants have competed in intramural sports on campus. 

Supervised and organized by the John Carroll Recreation Department, intramural sports has become a highlight for many students on campus. 

With nine different sports and 14 tournaments offered, there have been over 320 teams, 2,000 participants and 300 games played throughout this school year. Still, numbers are growing with spring IM sports seasons beginning this week. 

“This year, we wanted to focus on giving students as many opportunities as possible to play because of the COVID-19 restrictions last year,” said John Carroll University Director of Recreation, Matt Clark. “The response has been very positive, and 37% of undergraduates have participated in at least one sport. This is up from 30% prior to COVID-19. The average participant has played 2-3 different sports.”

Starting the year off, the Rec Department offered basketball, flag-football, kickball, softball and volleyball leagues, as well as a cornhole, spikeball and dodgeball tournament in the fall. 

There was another season of basketball as well as an indoor soccer tournament for the short winter season that just wrapped up a few weeks ago. 

For the spring season, which started this week, volleyball, outdoor soccer and floor hockey are all being offered along with a tennis, badminton and pickleball tournament. Two golf tournaments will also take place this semester, along with a March Madness Bracket Challenge, which is currently being tallied. 

These competitions are not played without reward as the winning team or individual receives the glorified IM Championship t-shirt with their picture also posted on Instagram. 

“Intramural Championship t-shirts are somewhat of a coveted accomplishment on campus,” said JCU Recreation Department Graduate Assistant, Kaitlyn Novicky. “We always say, ‘Intramural champion t-shirts are never given and always earned.’”

“It’s pretty cool hearing students talk about how their games went or brag to their friends about winning a championship,” said Clark. “I think there is also value in having a friendly competition that students get excited about every week.”

Students participate in the leagues and competitions, but students are also hired by the Rec Department to referee and scorekeep these games. 

“Intramural sports are almost entirely student-run. We wouldn’t be able to play without our awesome staff,” said Clark. “We have 28 officials and scorekeepers and four Intramural Sports Supervisors who do an amazing job. Many of the skills they are learning and using in the job translate into the classroom and into their future careers.”

Members of the John Carroll Recreation staff after an intramural game in 2022. (Kaitlyn Novicky)

“Being an intramural referee has been a very rewarding experience because I feel as though I have been able to help people bring out their competitive nature, while also having a lot of fun,” said IM referee and now Team Lead Nick Welch ‘23. “I love sports, I love to learn and I love being part of a team, and intramurals have helped me combine all three.”

Intramural sports are currently being played five days a week, not including the specialized tournaments, in both the IM gym and Don Shula Stadium. 

“Some of our participants are regulars when it comes to registering for all the sports seasons we provide,” said Novicky. “Others always look forward to one particular sport, and some even end up playing when they never thought they would.”

Remaining a stronghold of the John Carroll community, intramural sports will continue to expand as student participation increases in the coming years. 

“I hope that intramural sports give students a reason to stay on campus, be active and socialize with their friends,” said Clark. “We try to create a welcoming and inclusive environment so that students feel comfortable participating even if they have little-to-no experience.”

“Intramurals provide an outlet to allow students to participate in organized competitive play, based on their interests and active schedules,” said Novicky. “Being able to connect with students at all these engagement levels is what makes the experience so impactful to student life here at Carroll.”

Click here to find out more about what IM sports are offered and check out the schedule for the spring season.