As Pitt-Greensburg athletics begin to hit their stride this fall, it’s important to remember the more recreational side of sports. Intramural sports are a beloved part of the Pitt-Greensburg culture, and this year’s dose of flag-football is shaping up to be no different. Although this campus doesn’t have the numbers to support an official football team, it is exactly this that gives intramural sports here a noticeable significance. Sure, the prize of an intramural championship is little more than bragging rights, but with nine teams currently registered, the approaching season is certainly going to bring a hunger for victory to Ridilla Field.
The majority of the games will take place during week day afternoons between 11:30am and 2:00pm. The season begins on September 29, and will run through the entirety of October, with the first two weeks of November dedicated to playoffs. Kickoffs will be absent from the games; each team will start their possession from their own end and drive down the field, hoping to reach the first down marker placed at midfield. The playtime consists of two 20-minute halves, and a five minute halftime in between. The clock will be continuously running, only stopping after an incomplete pass with less than a minute to go, or if a team uses one of their two timeouts per half. All of this information and more, including team names and captains, full rosters, and the league schedule, can be found on the league’s webpage at www.imleagues.com/upg.
I caught up with assistant intramural coordinator Chad Jacob, who shed some light on other aspects of the upcoming season. Rules and referees are largely influential when in it comes to any sport, and flag-football is no different. “There will be two or three referees for each game, depending on who is available. They will call the game with college football rules,” Jacob said. College football rules being: the ball carrier is ruled down if his knee touches the ground, and a receiver must get one foot down in-bounds for a catch to be ruled complete.
Another feature of the game that highly dictates the rhythm and flow of flag-football games is the rules for defensive blitzing. There is quite a variety of blitzing rules that can be imposed in flag football, like the classic backyard-style of “Five-Mississippi blitz,” or only allowing blitzes if the opposing quarterback leaves the pocket. For this league, Jacob explained, “Defenders are allowed to blitz every single play. The catch is that the same person cannot blitz two times in a row.” This is a creative and refreshing rule, and is one that can keep both offenses and defenses satisfied.
Intramural sports may not get the attention or glamour of NCAA-sponsored leagues, but their importance can’t be understated. The flourishing intramural leagues on campus are a product of the students’ willingness to work together, organize, and create something great. And although the stakes might not be as high as they are for the school’s official teams, that’s no reason to think that there will be a lack of competitiveness. As Chad Jacob said, “you throw men on a football field and it will get competitive. One thing we strive for is good sportsmanship, which we’ve never had a problem with. This is what makes flag-football a consistently successful program here at Pitt-Greensburg.”