University institutes intramural scholarships

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    Colleen Slattery

    Director of Funds Allocated for State Glorification

     

     

     

     

    Sets on the Beach members are the first of many to be offered scholarships for their athleticism. -Photo courtesy of Stephen Thie
    Sets on the Beach members are the first of many to be offered scholarships for their athleticism.
    -Photo courtesy of Stephen Thie

    In an unprecedented move, the University of Dallas administration decided Friday afternoon to begin offering scholarships to athletes who choose to compete for the numerous intramural teams that the university offers. As it stands now, the school is not allowed to legally offer scholarships to students who come in wishing to compete for the official National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III teams on campus.

    “But there is no such a rule regarding intramural athletics,” commented Dr. John Plotts, vice president of enrollment. It should be noted that the athletic department was not invited to the meeting, as its input was not deemed relevant to the situation.

    President Thomas Keefe endorsed the school’s ruling. He told the University News that he thought the move would help solve the current tension between athletes and the administration, as it strives to more fully support the athletes who compete in the program. He also cited the popularity of intramural sports as a reason for support.

    “We [the administration] noticed how many more people go to the Intramural Championship games than to practically any other sporting events on campus,” he said. “Why not reward the students who devote sometimes two whole hours of their evening, once and sometimes even twice a week, to an athletic endeavor?  Dedication like that should not go unnoticed!”

    He also suggested that the scholarship opportunity would encourage more students to attend UD, and that he hopes that perhaps some homeschoolers who have not been able to participate in athletics previously might have an opportunity to realize their skills through the intramural scholarship program.

    James Slattery, sophomore transfer student and dedicated intramural athlete, was delighted by the news.

    “I feel like my hard work has paid off,” he said. “During the rigorous intramural seasons, sometimes, I would come 10 or even 15 minutes early to a game. And during basketball season, I would stay afterwards and play knockout with some of my friends, just to get a little more practice in.  I definitely feel that I deserve the extra money for my hard work, as do all of my fellow teammates.”

    The new ruling does present some confusion, though, and the athletic department contains the most vocal dissenters to the decision. Matthew Barber, head coach of the cross country and track and field teams, pointed out potential loopholes in the program.

    “So, what happens if a DIII athlete competes on, say, an intramural volleyball team? Then what? Does he get the same treatment as an intramural athlete, the same scholarship? If not, that’s blatant discrimination.”  Athletic Director Dick Strockbine could not be reached for comment on the ruling, and as of Monday morning, official school athletes have begun a silent protest outside of Keefe’s office in reaction to the ruling.

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