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Participant Handbook

This publication is the guidelines established for Intramural Sports participation at Michigan State University. 

Mission Statement

To promote each participant’s learning experience by engaging the university community in healthy lifestyles through sport, fitness and recreational opportunities.

Guidelines for Team Captains

Team captains shall serve as the liaison between the Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Office and their team. This includes taking responsibility for the proper administration of the team as well as the on/off-field behavior of each and every team member and spectators. The policies and procedures in this handbook are the guidelines which will be enforced at each and every Intramural competition. Understanding and adhering to these guidelines will facilitate and allow a team’s participation in Intramural Sports to be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Administrative Duties

  • Watch the Captain’s Information video that is linked on the Intramural Sports Fall/Spring/Summer Schedule posted at recsports.msu.edu.
  • Register your team in the proper league and division online at imleagues.com/msu.
  • Check schedules regularly for updates/changes in game times. All schedules are posted online through IMLeagues.
  • Occasionally, schedules may change due to various reasons, including but not limited to the following: facility availability changes, weather, teams forfeiting out and not being replaced, etc.
  • Obtain the playoff schedule as soon as the schedule has been posted to IMLeagues.
  • Be responsible for thoroughly understanding the rules of the sport you are participating in and informing your team members of the Intramural Rules and Policies.
  • Ensure that enough eligible participants are at the game 15 minutes prior to the beginning of a scheduled contest. GAME TIME IS FORFEIT TIME!
  • Ensure that all players have registered with the IM Staff by providing their valid MSU Student/Faculty ID Card before the start of each game/match.

Sportsmanship Duties

  • Educate your team members regarding the consequence of poor sportsmanship for both the individual and the team.
  • Be responsible for the behavior of all your team’s players and spectators.
  • Be responsible for ensuring that all your team members understand and abide by all the Intramural Sports Policies as posted at recsports.msu.edu.
  • Inform any ejected players that they must promptly leave the facility in which the competition is being held, or risk forfeiture of the remainder of the game.
  • Inform any ejected players of the procedural steps for reinstatement. Ejected players are to contact appropriate director before the next scheduled game to discuss eligibility for further intramural participation.

Intramural Rules and Policies

Registration Procedure

Registration will begin at a date specified on the Fall/Spring/Summer Intramural Sports Schedule posted at recsports.msu.edu.

  1. Teams must be created online at imleagues.com/msu before the entry deadline.
  2. Teams must pay the team entry fee online before the entry deadline using the link provided after creating the team online at imleagues.com/msu.
  3. If too many teams register for a league, a wait list will be formed. Wait listed teams will be contacted only if a spot opens up in a league.
  4. It is the responsibility of the team captain to submit an appropriate team name. Names that include inappropriate language or references will be removed. The intramural staff reserves the right to change any name that is deemed inappropriate.

Eligibility

All students, faculty and staff, both full-time and part-time, enrolled in class and are in good standing with the university are eligible to participate in the Intramural Sports Program.

  • Participants may play on one team per league, per sport, per semester. (exception: in ice hockey, players can only play for one team, regardless of league/division). A player declares a team preference by their first participation or by joining an IMLeagues team roster, whichever comes first. Participants on a team that has forfeited/withdrawn from a league within the first two weeks of the regular season may join another team.
  • Former varsity athletes are eligible to participate in the sport(s) in which they played as a varsity athlete; however, only one former varsity player is allowed per team. Any former DI athlete must wait TWO full academic year in order to be eligible. Former DII and DIII varsity athletes are eligible immediately as long as they adhere to the number allowed per team and are participating in the highest skill level division that is offered. 
  • Current varsity athletes, including transfers, redshirts, and anyone practicing or listed on a roster with a varsity team, may not participate in the related sport in which they are currently participating.
  • Current and/or former club sport athletes may participate in the same or related sport in which they participate as a club sport member, but only two (2) club players are allowed per team and all club players must play in the highest skill level division that is offered (former is defined as appearing on the club roster within the previous academic year).
  • Current and/or former professional athletes are allowed to participate in the same sport in which they played professionally, however, only one former professional is allowed per team and they must wait FIVE full years in order to be eligible (former is defined as having played professionally at any time).
  • F-PID holders, University affiliates, and/or Spouses are not eligible to participate.
  • Ejected players are suspended from all intramural activities until reinstated by the Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Department.
  • Ice Hockey only: No player may compete in a playoff game if they did not play in at least one regular season game.

Team Rosters

Recreational Sports and Fitness Services is driven by participation and not winning.  Thus, our roster addition procedure is put in place to encourage your opportunities to play. To add players to a roster, participants must be added to the IM Leagues roster before the game/match has begun. Unless otherwise noted, a team’s maximum roster size will be unlimited for all sports.

Players cannot be added to your roster after your last regular season game, as all eligible players for playoffs must participate in at least one regular season game.

Protests

It is the strong belief of the intramural staff that contests should be won or lost on the field of play. The intramural staff will resolve all disputes immediately. Matters involving an official’s judgment or application of playing rules are not a basis for protest. Protests referring to or questioning an officials decision call will not be granted. 

Rec Sports reserves the right to rule on any matters not covered in this handbook. We will apply the spirit of the rules and fairness in all situations.

Rescheduling Games

In order to attempt to reschedule a game, the team captain needs to use the rescheduling tool on the IMLeagues website. To do this, the team captain should log in to their IMLeagues account, navigate to their team page, visit the game page for the game that they want to change, click the reschedule a game link, find a time slot that has an open court and it works for both teams, then submit the reschedule request. The request will be sent to the other team for approval and then to the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports for approval.

Reschedule requests need to be completed and sent for final approval at least 36 hours before the originally scheduled contest.

Regular season games will not be rescheduled unless facility space is available and both teams agree to the reschedule.

Playoff games may not be rescheduled unless there are weather or facility issues that require a change to be made.

Playoffs

A single elimination tournament will be held at the conclusion of the regular season. Team captains are responsible for verifying their playoff schedule as soon as it is posted to the IMLeagues website.

All teams in each league/division will make the playoffs unless:

  • A team has sportsmanship or code of conduct problems that result in forfeiture and/or player suspensions.
  • A team's suspended player fails/refuses to meet with the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports prior to the end of the regular season.
  • A team forfeits multiple regular season games. Exception: in softball, a team that forfeits a regular season game will be removed from the playoffs.

Levels of Competition

Skill level divisions may be offered within a league and teams are given the opportunity to choose their level of competition. Division I (DI) is the highest skill level, Division III (DIII) is the lowest skill level. Players are not allowed to play on more than one team in the same league, no matter the skill level. Games at all levels will be conducted exactly the same way and preference will not be given to higher levels of play. Information will be provided during the registration process regarding skill level divisions within the leagues each semester.

*Rec Sports reserves the right to move a team up or down a division based on the perceived skill level of a team or the needed divisional composition

Forfeits

GAME TIME IS FORFEIT TIME! Teams are strongly encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early for their games. Any game whose outcome is declared a forfeit will result in a loss being credited to the forfeiting team. A forfeit will be declared under the following conditions:

  1. A team does not field the required number of eligible players by the designated game time.
  2. A violation of any rule as stated in the Intramural Sports Code of Conduct.

In the event of a multiple forfeits by the same team, that team will not be eligible for playoff competition. Multiple forfeits may also result in the team being dropped from the league prior to the completion of the regular season; teams that are removed due to forfeits are not eligible to receive refunds. Exception: in softball, a team that forfeits a regular season game will be removed from the playoffs.

Equipment

Game and field equipment will always be provided by Rec Sports. Due to the nature of participation the sports and divisions are subject to change. For further specific information please contact Rec Sports or click on the sport specific rules posted at recsports.msu.edu.

Rule/Policy Changes

The Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Department reserves the right to change and/or put into effect any new rules/policies without notice.

Assumption of Risk

Students are advised that participation in the Rec Sports Program involves physical risk. Participation is strictly voluntary. Injuries and their resulting cost are the responsibility of the participant. There is a possibility that a participant may be injured during the course of normal activities. This risk of injury extends to the physical being, as well as personal belongings that the individual may bring to the activity (including but not limited to eyeglasses, or personal possessions left on the sideline, in lockers, at Dem Hall, IM East, IM West, IM Circle, Munn Field, IM East Field, Vet Med Field and Munn Arena).

Concussion Information

In each competition, there is a risk for participants to sustain a concussion injury. Because of that possibility, Rec Sports provides educational materials to participants/coaches so that they may be more informed about the risks, identifiers, and facts regarding concussions. It is important that all participants/coaches familiarize themselves with the Concussion Management Plan prior to playing in any intramural contest.

Blood on Uniforms

There is a risk for blood borne infectious diseases to be transmitted from one player's wounds to another. Recognizing the concerns this risk creates for our Intramural participants, the Intramural Sports Staff has established the following policy:

When an official observes a player who is bleeding, has an open wound, or has an excessive amount of blood on his or her clothing, the official will temporarily stop the game in the same manner as the official would have temporarily stopped the game for an injured player, except that the bloody player must leave the game. A removed player is expected to receive appropriate treatment on the sidelines before returning to the game. The player involved shall not return to the contest until the bleeding has stopped, the open wound is covered, or an excessively bloody piece of clothing is changed and disposed of properly. An excessive amount of blood on a piece of clothing means the clothing is saturated so that the blood would transfer to another player or the blood could soak through to the skin. Once play has stopped under this rule, the player may not re-enter the game until the official declares the player eligible. This includes; running of the clock, one “play” run in flag football, a substitution opportunity in soccer, a volley in volleyball, etc.

Vandalism

Deliberate destruction of University property and equipment, public property, or personal property of individuals will not be tolerated. All incidents can be reported to Student Services and MSU Police.

Alcohol and Drug Policy

If any member of your team is suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol by the supervisor or official on duty, the individual will be asked to leave the facility. If the team or team manager does not cooperate with officials and supervisors to remove the suspected participant from the facility/field, the entire team may be penalized by the assessment of a game forfeit. The player(s) involved will need to contact and meet with the Director to discuss their individual reinstatement. The matter can also be referred to Student Services.

MSU Issued ID Card Policy

Participants must present their valid MSU Issued Photo ID Card at all games. No one is allowed in any of the Intramural Recreation Facilities without their MSU ID Card. No one will be allowed to play without their MSU ID Card. No ID, no play, no exceptions!

Assumed Name or Identity

Any player using an assumed name or ID shall be referred to Director of the sport and barred from further Intramural competition for the remainder of the semester.

Intramural Staff

The Intramural Supervisor is the final authority during an intramural activity. The supervisor will be in charge of organizing the event, directing teams to proper fields and courts, and managing the contests so that good sportsmanship is practiced at all times.

Participants must realize that the game officials are the first source of ruling and information. The supervisors may only be consulted when interpretations or applications of the rules are in question. They will not overrule any judgment calls!

The supervisor may intervene to stop play at any time. Situations such as disorderly conduct, abusive language, and fighting are potentially dangerous and can lead to a supervisor terminating the contest and assessing a forfeit to the team or removing a player from the event and instructing him/her to leave the facility.

Transgender Policy

Gender identity: individuals who identify as man or woman will be eligible for the following leagues:

Leagues of Competition Identifies as a Male Identifies as a Female
CoRec Leagues Eligible Male participant Eligible Female participant
Men's Leagues Eligible Male participant Not eligible
Women's Leagues Not eligible Eligible Female participant

Teams with players who identify as transgender man or transgender woman are responsible for ensuring their players comply with all Player Eligibility Guidelines.

Harassment Policy

Michigan State University is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff that is fair, humane, and responsible - an environment that supports career and educational advancement on the basis of job and academic performance. Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and offends the integrity of the University community. It is not tolerated at Michigan State University.

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful gender (sex) discrimination. It may involve harassment of women by men, harassment of men by women, and harassment between persons of the same sex. Sexual harassment is made unlawful by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The University and the law also prohibit retaliation against persons who complain about alleged sexual harassment or who cooperate in an investigation of reported sexual harassment.

This Policy applies to all members of the University community - faculty, staff, and students. This Policy also prohibits sexual harassment by third parties towards members of the University community.

Members of the University community shall not engage in sexual harassment. Persons who do so are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge for employees and dismissal for students. The University also prohibits sexual harassment by third parties towards members of the University community.

The Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Department is in constant vigilance to ensure an environment that is free of abusive behavior directed toward an individual or group because of race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disabilities, including learning disabilities, mental retardation, and past/present history of a mental disorder. Any harassment toward a Michigan State University employee or participant will subject the individual and/or team to university disciplinary procedures.

If you feel that you have been harassed, please register your complaint with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), Olds Hall, 408 W Circle Drive, Suite 4, East Lansing, or call 517-353-3922 or email at oie@msu.edu

Banned Equipment and Jewelry Policies

The officials and supervisors on duty have the authority to disallow any participant from wearing any equipment, jewelry, or apparel which in their judgment is dangerous or disadvantageous to other participants. This is a rule for the safety of all participants, including the wearer of such apparel, and applies to any and all dangerous equipment and jewelry. There are no exceptions to these policies except as outlined below for religious jewelry and headgear.

Religious Jewelry and Headgear

If you wear religious jewelry or headgear you must follow our approval procedure below before you can participate in an Intramural Event:

Approval of Religious Apparel for Intramural Play:

  • A meeting must be set-up with the Assistant Director of Intramurals, at least 3 business days prior to your first game, to discuss the safest way to secure the religious jewelry to the body.

***This may mean that one has to purchase a sweatband, headband, or athletic tape to secure the religious jewelry/headgear to the body. ***

  • Once you have approval from the Assistant Director of Intramurals, an email/memo will go to the Intramural Staff, Team Captain, and Participant about the proper procedure for wearing the approved Religious Jewelry or Headgear.

Disability Accommodations and Equipment

Michigan State University and Recreational Sports and Fitness Services is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Reasonable and safe accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the director assigned to the program, service or activity one week before the start of the program, service or activity. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible. Equipment used must be determined by the director of the activity as safe for the individual, participants, and Recreational Sports and Fitness Services team members.  

Shoe Policy

All participants must wear proper athletic shoes. A shoe shall be considered proper if it is made with either canvas or leather uppers or similar material. Street, turf shoes, and sandals are not allowed. The sole may be smooth or molded, non-marking, and non-abrasive. No metal, or shoes similar to metal sole and heel plates will be allowed. The supervisor has the authority to disallow any type of dangerous footwear.

Headgear Policy

Headgear is not allowed to be worn by any participant during an Intramural event. For INDOOR sports this headgear consists of any hats, bandanas, baseball caps, winter/wool hats, and any other such similar headgear. This also applies to OUTDOOR sports with the following exceptions: in winter wool hats are allowed and during the softball league/tournament baseball hats are allowed. The officials and supervisors on duty have the authority to disallow any participant from participating that they feel would endanger the person wearing the headgear or their opponents until it is removed.

Additional Safety Information

NONE of the following are allowed to be worn by any participant during an Intramural event:

  • Street pants (jeans, khakis, etc.)
  • Bare feet
  • Baseball Hats (Unless for Softball)
  • A guard, cast or brace made of hard and unyielding leather, plaster, pliable (soft) plastic, metal or any other hard substance - even if covered with soft padding - when worn on the elbow, hand, finger, wrist or forearm.
  • Bandanas (Except a headband no wider than 2 inches and made of nonabrasive, unadorned, cloth, elastic, fiber, soft leather or rubber may be worn. Rubber/cloth (elastic) bands may be used to control hair.)

Players and teams that are found to be in violation of this policy, and thus endangering the safety of all the participants, will be penalized with an UNSPORTSMANLIKE PENALTY assessed to the violating player. The player will be removed until the equipment or jewelry in question is removed.

Intramural Code of Conduct and Sportsmanship Policy

Intramural Code of Conduct

The Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Department takes sportsmanship very seriously and offenders will be dealt with accordingly. Sportsmanship policies will be enforced strictly to ensure the safety and enjoyment of ALL participants, including our Student Intramural Staff. Actions that are dangerous and/or conduct that is detrimental to the Intramural Program will not be tolerated and are grounds for suspension from further participation in all Intramural Sports activities.

The Intramural Program has the jurisdiction to suspend or remove individuals and teams from participation in any and all Intramural Sports activities. The Intramural Program and RECSports reserves the right to remove any player or team for involvement and/or further unsportsmanlike actions, and to refer participants to Student Services and make recommendations for their consideration.

Unsportsmanlike Behavior

The rules stated below, will govern all Intramural play:

1)      Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Any person, who commits, attempts to commit, incites or aids others in committing any acts of misconduct shall be subject to disciplinary procedures by the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports.

2)      Team captains are responsible for the conduct of their players/spectators and therefore are subject to the same disciplinary actions as their players and spectators.

3)      The Assistant Director of Intramural Sports will be the final judge of what is unsportsmanlike.

4)      Unsportsmanlike conduct includes, but is not limited to the following:

a)       Fighting (pushing, punching, tripping, late hits, cheap shots, or any type of physical contact)

b)       Using profane, inappropriate, insulting, or vulgar language or gestures - incidental or otherwise

c)       Verbal or physical baiting or taunting an opponent, including "trash talking" in any manner

d)       Attempting to influence an Intramural Staff member's decision

e)       Dissent towards an Intramural Official or Staff member's decision

f)        Disrespectfully addressing Intramural Staff

g)       Physical contact with Intramural Staff

h)       Failure to follow the directions of any Intramural Staff member acting in performance of their duties

i)         Physically damaging a facility, equipment, or other provided Intramural apparatus (example - hanging on the basketball rims)

j)        Delay of game and/or tactical fouls

k)       Engaging in any general unsportsmanlike act, especially those that show disregard for Intramural rules and policies (Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties)

l)         Any attempt to strike an opponent or Intramural Sports Staff member

m)     Aggressive action toward a participant or Intramural Sports Staff member

n)       Actions that may lead to a fight

5)      The following policies will also be considered in dealing with unsportsmanlike conduct:

Incidents reported to the administrative staff which indicate unsportsmanlike conduct include: failure to adhere to facility policies and procedures; failure to follow verbal instructions of a staff member; failure to provide personnel with proper identification upon request; unauthorized use of facilities; theft or damage to facilities or equipment; and physical or verbal abuse directed toward a staff member, spectator or participant. In doing so the individual(s) involved will be questioned and may be required to submit a written statement of the incident within seven days of the occurrence. Written statements from on-duty personnel and witnesses will also be obtained. At the conclusion of the internal investigation, the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports will rule on the incident. Penalties could include: temporary or permanent probation, suspension from the facilities for a specified period of time or permanent loss of access to recreational facilities.

Ejections and Suspensions

1)      Any participant engaging in a fight or attempting to engage in a fight will be suspended for the remainder of the season.

2)      There is an automatic minimum one game suspension for all individual ejections.

3)      Players will be ejected for two unsportsmanlike penalties, one severe unsportsmanlike penalty, or be removed by an Intramural Staff member for a gross violation: "A player receiving 2 Unsportsmanlike Penalties (Examples: 2 yellow cards / 2 technical fouls / 2 Unsportsmanlike conducts (UCs) / 2 Major Penalties) or one flagrant foul.

a)      A player called for 1 Flagrant Unsportsmanlike Penalty (Examples: Red Card / Flagrant Foul)

b)      A player can be ejected at the discretion of an IM Sport Supervisor (Example: Taunting from a sideline / an attempt to injure another player)

4)      Ejected players will be asked to leave the field of play and the facility. The ejected person must leave the playing area immediately and has 5 minutes to leave the facility. Any ejected person not adhering to this rule could cause their team's game to be forfeited and face possible referral to Student Services and MSU Police.

5)      Most suspensions will be served in the sport in which the offense occurred, but, individuals can be suspended from all Intramural sports and events depending on the severity of their offense.

6)      In cases occurring late in the sport season or the academic year, a suspension from the remainder of the playoff season will occur and may carry over into the next sport, season, semester, or academic year.

7)      Managers that are currently under suspension or who have failed to have an ejection meeting will be prohibited from registering an intramural team until they have resolved their sanction.

Violations of Intramural Code of Conduct

The following are possible consequences of unsportsmanlike conduct of intramural teams and participants.

  1. Forfeit due to misconduct - If a team, a player, or a combination of the two causes the officials to cancel the remainder of a contest, each team will forfeit that contest.
  2. Intramural probation - Intramural probation places a team on a probationary status which would cause a suspension from intramural participation for any further unsportsmanlike conduct. The term of probation may be set for a particular sport, for a semester, for a year or forever.
  3. Intramural Suspension - Suspension from Intramurals prohibits the suspended organization and its individuals listed on the team roster from participating and being a spectator in any sports during the period of intramural suspension.
  4. Teams that are removed due to unsportsmanlike behavior will not receive refunds.

Disciplinary Procedure/Reinstatement Process:

Any player ejected from an Intramural contest for any reason is automatically suspended from playing in all Intramural competitions until reinstated by Rec Sports. Players must contact and meet, by appointment only, with the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports or designee prior to reinstatement in the Intramural Sports Program. If that individual fails to meet with the Intramural Staff and misses additional contests, those missed contests do not count toward the length of suspension. All time served for any suspensions begin after this meeting is held.

The person is also subject to further disciplinary action by the Director ranging from further suspension from play to full revocation of Intramural privileges. Any Individual who is involved in endangering behavior, this includes physical, verbal, and psychological abuse of the Intramural staff, will be removed from Intramurals for a specified period of time and will be referred to Student Services.

Appeal for Individual Sanctions:

The individual can appeal only sanctions of more than two games. A written appeal must be filed within 48 hours of the sanction. This forum is not a hearing. The process is a review of the record of the incident(s) and reasons for the excessive behavior. Individuals will remain suspended during the appeal process. The decision by RECSports to refer individual(s)/team(s) to Student Services may not be appealed. Acceptable reasons for an appeal include: new information concerning the contest becomes available and/or the sanction is too severe for the offense. The Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, Associate Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, and/or person(s) designated by the Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, will review the appeal.

Additional Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Policies

Safety:

The safety of all participants who use the Fitness Facilities is our highest priority.

Participation in programs sponsored by the Recreational Sports and Fitness Services and the use of the recreational facilities is strictly voluntary. Participants are responsible for their own health and safety and are cautioned to participate according to the limits determined by their physician and their knowledge of their own health status.

Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in loss of facility privileges. Michigan State University reserves the right to put into effect any new guidelines that protect the health, safety and integrity of the participants using the facility.