Female numbers still lacking in IMs

Although there are fewer women’s IM teams than men’s teams, residential colleges have had more trouble filling their rosters for their women’s sports than men’s.
Although there are fewer women’s IM teams than men’s teams, residential colleges have had more trouble filling their rosters for their women’s sports than men’s. Photo by Victor Kang.

Just this year, three of Davenport’s women IM teams have had to completely forfeit their seasons because of low turnout while none of its men’s teams have had the same problem.

Those forfeitures, say some IM secretaries, are a result of the drastic differences between male and female participation in IM sports. Though the number of women’s teams are far less than that of men’s sports — 22 on the men’s side versus six for women last fall — different colleges have still had to forfeit women’s contests. Other IM secretaries, however, claim that a difference does not exist. Nathan Hardesty-Dyck ’12, Davenport’s head IM secretary, said that his college has tried to get more women to participate on its teams, but those efforts have not helped.

Davenport and Morse faced off in a men’s IM volleyball battle last night at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Davenport and Morse faced off in a men’s IM volleyball battle last night at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

“Though our IM secretaries have worked hard to recruit men and women for our teams, we have been more successful in getting male participants out to the fields and courts,” Hardesty-Dyck said.

Kyle Killeen ’12, the Stiles IM secretary, agreed with Hardesty-Dyck’s sentiments. She said it is always more difficult to get women to participate in IMs. She thinks that the difference in participation between the genders is largely due to the misconception that you have to have exceptional skills in order to play IMs.

“Women, in my experience, are more worried that their lack of skill will cost Stiles a victory,” Killeen said. “They don’t want to be the one to lose the game for us.”

Men are often more competitive and don’t want to lose a game by forfeit, and they are less self-conscious about their skill level, she added.

But three IM secretaries disputed the idea that female participation in IMs is severely lacking.

“It’s wrong to say girls always forfeiting,” said head IM secretary Peter Jasinski ’12. “All of the women’s leagues are still going strong, and I’ve played coed football with more girls than boys.”

George Harris ’11, head IM secretary of Trumbull College, said that his college does not have an issue with participation in IMs.

“Sometimes we don’t have as many women as men, but we have more than enough women,” he said.

Still, Jasinski did acknowledge that some women sports have trouble fielding teams despite their lower participation requirement.

In women’s squash, only three players are required to form a team, whereas men’s squash requires five players. Yet halfway into the season, Jasinski said there are already three female squash teams out of eleven that have had to forfeit the season because they could not meet the three player requirement.

Hardesty-Dyck, who agreed that there was a difference in male-female participation, says that he has had more trouble recruiting female participants than male ones across every sport with the exception of this year’s cross country meet, in which more women than men ran.

“Because of our overall low female turnout, our all-women sports have suffered most in terms of forfeits,” he said.

Regardless of their views, all five IM secretaries interviewed said that they are interested in increasing the number of women participating in IMs because in addition to filling the rosters of women’s teams, it is important in order to prevent coed teams from forfeiting. They said that rather than target women to achieve that goal, it would be more beneficial to increase overall participation among both genders. Hardesty-Dyck said he believes that recruitment for each incoming freshman class is critical.

“If you can find a couple freshman women who are excited about multiple IM sports, they are likely to convince their suitemates and friends to show up as well,” he said.

Killeen suggested improving overall participation by encouraging people to come out just for fun and not only for the win.

Hardesty-Dyck said it can be more difficult to find female participants simply because there is a smaller number of frequent female IM players in his college.

“On average, the women who do play are as likely to come out as the men who frequently play,” Hardesty-Dyck said.

There are 30 IM sports with eight mens sports and five womens sports. The remaining seventeen sports are coed.


  • silliwin01

    We could also improve the atrocious administration of the intramural program, make men’s football flag so that it is actually enjoyable, lengthen games so that the time commitments required to get to Payne Whitney or the fields have a greater return on investment, and get referees that are decently competent, rather than hacks with frat connections looking for a easy job to finance their alcoholism or weed habit. and who will liberally shorten games because they are lazy, terrible people. Since none of that is going to happen, why pretend IMs are at all serious?

  • readerguy

    Confusing article. Early on it says there are 22 men’s teams vs. 6 women’s teams last fall, then at the end it says there are 8 mens sports, 5 men’s sports, and 17 coed sports.

    Also at one point it says “other secretaries claim that a difference does not exist”…but in the very next sentence quotes a guy who supports the original claim, rather than the counter opinion that the above sentence implies is coming next.

    Overall just hard to follow.

  • Y_2011

    I’m a female who used to play IMs. I’ll tell you why I don’t anymore. I was tired of being bossed around by every male on the team, even the ones who had just started playing the sport! (I played three varsity sports in high school and I was captain of one). I saw two female teammates who were treated that way as well even though they were seniors who had been there for every game since their freshman year and were better players than almost everyone on the team. Newsflash boys: women may not be as strong or as fast, but they AREN’T STUPID either.

    It’s possible that my experience was not typical of other colleges IM programs, but since we’re on the topic I figured I’d put in my two cents.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Lady IMers with academic credentials inferior to the rest of the student body need a separate admissions scheme so that they might gain admission to Yale. Problem solved.

  • RexMottram08

    silliwin01: picked last, weren’t you?

  • silliwin01

    Nah dawg I’m good which is why i find the pathetic state of yale’s im program so annoying.