Beginning Jan. 22, students will pack the Northwest Recreation Center to participate in the annual intramural volleyball tournament.
For three weeks, 48 teams will compete in three separate divisions for the title of best team. The three divisions consist of an all sorority, all fraternity and one co-rec. After the three weeks, the teams will be split into a playoff bracket according to their game records.
Compared to the previous two years, the 48 registered teams signal an increase in interest. The recent success of the tournament is no coincidence. The recreation center staff made an effort to increase the popularity of the event.
“As a team, we collaborated to improve our marketing techniques,” graduate assistant Matthew Denton said. “We have been in the Union talking to people and putting stuff on social media.”
Most of the 48 teams consist of Greek life members, due to them being required to play at least one sport. Some of these members will play again in the co-rec division.
“We do get the same people over and over again,” Denton said. “We have tried to improve that by adding freshmen and sophomores to that group.”
Instead of targeting those who regularly attend the recreation center, the recreation staff aimed to target those around campus who may not know about the event.
In order to do this, the recreation tailored its marketing strategy to appeal to different target audiences.
“We have been involving our student employees in our marketing,” Denton said. “That allows us to interact with a more diverse audience.”
Part of that diverse audience includes students who played a sport in high school and want to continue to be a part of a team in college.
“It’s a great opportunity to get back on the court and play with a team,” junior Kenzie Schumacher said. “It also felt good to be competitive and build a relationship with my (sorority) sisters.”
Schumacher, a member of last year’s Alpha Thugs, will be one of many students that will participate in the tournament for a second or third time.
Although many will compete, only one team from each division will take home a championship trophy.
“You are guaranteed three free games when you sign up,” Denton said. “After that you go into a playoff, which is single-elimination, and a winner will be selected from there.”
To clarify, teams only enter the playoff bracket associated with their own division. Sororities enter the sorority bracket, co-recs enter the co-rec bracket, and so on.
Ending Feb. 9, the regular season will take place at the Northwest Recreation Center. Immediately following the season will be the playoff bracket. The bracket is single-elimination.
Unlike intramural basketball and other sports, numbers tend to be higher due to the different divisions in play. With more people signing up than in recent years, the recreation center’s marketing strategy appears to be paying off.