(Photos by Nicholas Gangemi)
The SportsFest Committee has decided to drop eight sports from this year’s program, which begins Friday. Also, the competitions will be scheduled around the two UM basketball games taking place this weekend.
Tom Soria, assistant director of intramurals at the Wellness Center, said the men’s and women’s games – both against big rivals – affected this year’s event planning.
“We wanted to make sure the events were done with enough time so students could line up for the games at the BankUnited Center,” Soria said.
On Saturday, the No. 8 Canes will take on North Carolina at 2 p.m. in a sold-out arena. Then on Sunday, the women’s team will play a big conference matchup against Florida State at 2 p.m.
“It’s going to be fun,” Soria added. “It provides us with a unique opportunity to work with athletics.”
In addition, women’s basketball coach Katie Meier will speak at the SportsFest opening ceremonies 5 p.m. Friday at the Rock.
The eight events that were cut are ultimate frisbee, darts, track and field, kickball, bocce, the mystery event, homerun derby and the trivia portion of couch potato. The committee felt those have not been as popular in recent years, Soria said.
The decision did not please some students.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” sophomore Phillip Chan said. “You’re kind of cutting out a population of students from participating in SportsFest.”
The committee also decided to change indoor volleyball to beach volleyball, Soria said.
“I’m kind of upset about indoor volleyball,” sophomore Jesus Melendez said. “But I’m excited for the new challenge.”
Every year the schedule of events is different and depends on what the committee decides, according to Soria. Therefore, it is not known yet whether those eight events will be included in the future.
SportsFest began in the spring semester of 1986 as a competition between Hecht and Stanford residential colleges. It has since grown into one of the biggest events on campus with thousands of students, faculty and staff participating from the five residential colleges, University Village and commuters.
The organizing committee is cross-promoting its events with UM Athletics to try and get a high student turnout at both basketball games. The final round of the knockout competition will take place at halftime of the men’s game on Saturday. The SportsFest champion and overall team winners will be announced at the women’s basketball game on Sunday.
Members from the individual men’s and women’s first, second and third place teams will be presented with a variety of Nike-sponsored prizes at the closing ceremonies, which will take place Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on the Intramural Fields.
For more information about SportsFest events and standings, visit sites.google.com/site/umsportsfest.