Student Life

Popular Intramural Sports program combines fitness and fun

By Ron Brown, October 22, 2014

Two Liberty University students playing intramural soccer.Liberty University boasts an Intramural Sports program that has become a significant part of its athletic landscape. At Liberty, Intramural Sports is a full-fledged member of an athletic system that maximizes opportunities for students to engage in competition.

Liberty has invested heavily in world-class athletic and recreation facilities used by intramural teams. Projects have included an expansion of the LaHaye Student Union, construction of the Liberty Mountain Intramural Complex with lighted turf fields and sand volleyball courts, and the development of the East Campus Athletic Complex, which includes fields used for lacrosse, field hockey, and intramural soccer. Liberty’s Thomas Indoor Soccer Center and LaHaye Ice Center are also widely used.

Because of these investments and the variety of sports offered, Liberty’s intramural program was ranked among the top 20 in the country last year by BestColleges.com.

About 26 percent of Liberty’s residential students participate in intramural sports, approximately eight percent higher than the national average. The program gives many of Liberty’s NCAA athletes an off-season source of competition. It also employs 100 student workers who supervise, referee, umpire, and keep scores and statistics. These positions help many students offset the cost of their tuition.

Dr. Larry Hoezee, Liberty’s executive director of residential enrollment management, said the vibrant intramural program plays a significant role in the recruitment and retention of students.

“Our extensive Intramural Sports program helps us recruit students interested in an active, healthy lifestyle and retain those who intend to become Champions for Christ,” he said. “Liberty University offers so much beyond the classroom walls, and being part of a team helps develop relationships that will last a lifetime.”

Liberty University students playing intramural volleyball.Ed Barnhouse (2000), Liberty’s director of Intramural Sports, agreed that the purpose of the program is to provide healthy athletic competition while fostering a sense of community.

“The students decide the composition of their teams, and we schedule them to play against one another,” he said. “The games provide a break from academics and serve as stress relievers and a form of exercise. Most students just do this for fun.”

The most popular intramural sports are basketball (1,190 participants), outdoor soccer (856), coed volleyball (676), and softball (670). Indoor soccer and broom ball (played on Liberty’s ice hockey rink) are also student favorites.

During peak competition times, there are about 19 intramural games being played per hour across campus, with an average of about 325 games per week.

According to Barnhouse, teams compete up to six times a semester at most schools. At Liberty, students have the opportunity to play a minimum of 10 times per semester, with some teams playing as many as 16 games.

“The friends I continue to keep in touch with are the ones I played intramurals with 20 years ago,” Barnhouse said. “You learn the true character of a person when they are put in a competitive situation like intramural sports.”

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