With spring term going remote, intramural sports go virtual

An esports player

For students, staff and faculty members missing the competitive outlet usually provided by intramurals, the Department of Physical Education and Recreation has one option that may help fill that need.

PE and Rec is offering virtual intramurals where Ducks can assemble teams and compete for free against other squads in several esports or go against other teams from universities around the country in a weekly trivia game. The leagues are free and anyone associated with the university can join.

Sean Graninger, who runs intramurals for PE and Rec, said staff quickly put the program in place once it became apparent spring term would shift to remote instruction because of the global coronavirus crisis. 

“We thought this would be a fun way for people to fill that competitive need as well as help maintain some of their social connections while everyone is scattered away from campus,” Graninger said.

Ducks can play against each other in “NBA 2K20,” “Madden NFL 20,” “FIFA 20” and “Rocket League.” In addition to the offerings from PE and Rec, the UO esports program, based out of the Erb Memorial Union, also will be organizing esports tournaments for students. The only requirement for participants is that they have access to the game they wish to play.

For now, the leagues are informal with no firm registration deadline and teams challenging others to games they schedule on their own. PE and Rec provides the platform for students to sign up and play.

A weekly quarantine quiz show happens every Wednesday on Twitch, an online streaming platform. It’s already proven popular, with more than a thousand students taking part. Teams can win prizes from the more than 100 participating schools.

With esports already a popular pastime among students, and with the energy created by the esports program and its new gaming lounge, Graninger expects more teams to join the virtual leagues as word spreads.

For more information, go to the virtual intramural website or email Graninger at seangran@uoregon.edu.

—By Jim Murez, University Communications