Participant Handbook

This publication serves as 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 Recreational Sports and Fitness Services staff and their team. This includes taking responsibility for the proper administration of the team as well as the on/off-field behavior of each team member and spectator. The protocols and procedures in this handbook are the guidelines which will be enforced at each and every Intramural activity. Understanding and adhering to these guidelines will facilitate and allow a team’s participation in Intramural Sports to be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Captain’s Duties

  • Watch the Captain’s Information video, in its entirety, prior to creating a team on the IMLeagues website.
  • Complete your team’s registration on the IMLeagues website.
  • Check schedules regularly for updates/changes in game times. All schedules are posted online on the IMLeagues website and in the IMLeagues mobile app.
    • Occasionally, schedules may change due to various reasons, including but not limited to the following: facility availability changes, weather, team removal, etc.
  • Understand the sport specific rules and inform your team members of all Intramural Rules and Policies.
  • Ensure that enough eligible participants are at the game 10 minutes prior to the beginning of a scheduled contest. GAME TIME IS FORFEIT TIME!
  • Ensure that all players are on your team’s IMLeagues roster, and have properly checked in with the Intramural Staff on site by presenting their VALID MSU ID.
  • 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, coaches, and spectators.
  • Be responsible for ensuring that all your team members understand and abide by all the Intramural Sports Protocols and Procedures as outlined in this Handbook and in the sport specific rules.

MSU Issued ID Card Policy

Participants must present their valid MSU Issued ID Card at all contests. No one will be  allowed in any of the Rec Sports Facilities (indoors or outdoors) without their MSU ID Card. No one will be allowed to play without their MSU ID Card. No MSU ID, no play, no exceptions!

Any participant that fraudulently presents an ID, shall be referred to the Sport Administrator and could be barred from further Intramural competition for the remainder of the semester.

Intramural Rules

Registration Procedure

Registration will begin at a date specified on the Intramural Sports Schedule posted at

  • Teams should first be created online at
  • Teams must then submit a team entry payment using the link sent to the team captain after creation of the team on IMLeagues.
  • Teams will be accepted based on league capacity. If a sport reaches capacity before a posted deadline, all other teams will be placed on a waitlist.
  • If a team is created after the posted deadline, those teams will be placed on a waitlist.
  • Waitlist teams will be contacted only if a spot opens in a league.
  • 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.


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

  • A-PID and Z-PID numbers must be properly displayed on a participant’s valid MSU ID card in order for that person to participate.
  • F-PID holders, University affiliates, Spouses, and/or Alumni are not eligible to participate.
  • 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 participant declares a team preference by joining an IMLeagues team roster.
  • Former collegiate 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 roster. Former DI athletes must wait two full academic years in order to be eligible. Former DII and DIII varsity athletes are eligible immediately as long as they adhere to the allowable number of collegiate varsity athletes per roster 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 roster 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).
  • Any participant who was ejected from a contest is suspended from all intramural activities until reinstated by the Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Department.

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. In order to play, participants must be added to the IMLeagues roster before the game/match has begun.

Leagues and Divisions of Competition

Each activity will be made up of different Leagues. A League is a classification that allows for eligibility restrictions based on gender, University affiliation, University residence, and/or student group participation.

Leagues typically offered, but not limited to, are: Men’s, Women’s, CoRec, Grad/Faculty, Open, Fraternity (IFC), and Neighborhood.

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.

*The Intramural Staff  reserves the right to move a team (or individual) up or down a division based on the perceived skill level of a team (or individual) or the needed divisional composition.


GAME TIME IS FORFEIT TIME! Teams are strongly encouraged to arrive 10 minutes prior to the start of their contest. 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:

  • A team does not field the required number of eligible players at the designated game time.
  • A violation of rules stated in the Intramural Sports Code of Conduct.
  • A team uses an ineligible player.

In the event of multiple forfeits by the same team, that team will not be eligible for playoff competition. 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 a refund. Exception: in softball, a team that forfeits a regular season game will be removed from the playoffs.

Forfeit Deposit

During the team registration payment process, each team will be required to pay a refundable forfeit deposit of $25. That deposit will be added to each team's entry fee. Teams that do not forfeit any games throughout the season, will be refunded $25 at the conclusion of the season.


A default will be declared when a contest is played as it would normally be played, but, the contest begins after the designated start time, and its delay is caused by the tardiness of one, or both teams. The contest score will be recorded as normal, however, the default designation causes the team(s) that is(are) responsible for the delay to be credited with a loss.

A default does not cause a team to lose its refundable forfeit deposit.

Rescheduling Games

In order to attempt to reschedule a game, the team captain must use the rescheduling tool on the IMLeagues website. Reschedule requests must be completed through IMLeagues and sent to the Sport Administrator 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 will not be rescheduled unless there are weather or facility issues that require a change to be made.


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 and IMLeagues mobile app.

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

  • A team forfeits multiple regular season games. Exception: in softball, a team that forfeits a regular season game will be removed from the playoffs.
  • A team has sportsmanship or Code of Conduct issues that result in forfeiture and/or multiple player suspensions.
  • A team's suspended player fails/refuses to meet with the Sport Administrator prior to the end of the regular season.


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 situations immediately. Matters involving an official’s judgment or application of playing rules are not a basis for protest. Protests referring to, or questioning an official’s decision, will not be granted.

The Intramural Staff reserves the right to rule on any matters not covered in this handbook. The spirit of the rules and fairness will be applied in all situations.

Code of Conduct

The Department of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services takes participant conduct very seriously. The Intramural Program will uphold and adhere to the Spartan Life Student Handbook - General Student Regulations at all times. This will serve as the guiding Code of Conduct for all intramural activities.

Violations of the Code of Conduct

Any participant who violates the Code of Conduct at any time before, during, or after an intramural contest will face sanctions imposed by the Department of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services. The following are possible consequences for violating the Code of Conduct:

  • Forfeit - If a team, a player, or a combination of the two violates the Code of Conduct, the officials may cancel the remainder of a contest. One or both teams will forfeit that contest.
  • Probation - Intramural probation places a team and all of its participants on a probationary status. Further incident while on probation would cause a suspension from intramural participation. The term of probation may be set for a particular sport, for a semester, for a year, or indefinitely.
  • Suspension - Suspension from Intramural Sports prohibits the organization, team, and/or its individual participants from engaging in any intramural activity as a player or as a spectator in any sports during the period of the sanction.
    • Any team or individual that is removed due to Code of Conduct violations will not receive a refund.

Unsporting Behavior

Unsporting behavior is defined as conduct that consists of unfair, unethical, or dishonorable actions or any behavior not in accordance with the spirit of fair play.

Unsporting behavior witnessed by, or reported to, the Intramural Staff will result in appropriate penalties and may result in contest forfeiture, individual or team ejection, and/or suspension.

All participants who engage in unsporting behavior will be dealt with accordingly. Sportsmanship rules will be enforced strictly to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all participants, including all Intramural Staff members.

The Intramural Program has the jurisdiction to suspend or remove individuals and teams from participation in any, and all, Intramural activities. The Intramural Program and the Department reserve the right to remove any player or team for involvement in, or because of, unsporting actions, and may refer participants to Student Services or MSU Police.

Ejections and Suspensions

All ejections that occur during any Intramural contest require the ejected participant to meet with the Sport Administrator in order to be reinstated.

  • Participants will be ejected from any contest for committing two unsporting penalties, one flagrant unsporting penalty, engaging in or attempting to engage in a fight.
  • Ejected participants will be removed from the facility by Intramural Staff.
  • There is a minimum one game suspension for all individual ejections.
  • Any participant engaging in a fight or attempting to engage in a fight will be suspended for the remainder of the sport season.
  • Most suspensions will be served in the sport in which the offense occurred, but, individuals can be suspended from all Intramural activities and events depending on the severity of their actions.
  • In cases that occur 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.
  • Captain’s 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.

Disciplinary Procedure and Reinstatement Process

Any player ejected from any Intramural contest, for any reason, is automatically suspended from playing in all Intramural activities until reinstated by the Department. Participants must contact and meet, by appointment only, with the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports, or designee, prior to reinstatement to the Intramural Program. If a participant fails to meet with Intramural Staff and misses additional contests, those missed contests do not count toward the length of suspension. All time served for any suspension begins after the ejection meeting is held.

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

Appeal for Individual Sanctions

Suspended participants can only appeal sanctions of more than two games. A written appeal must be filed within 48 hours of the sanction. The process will begin with a review of the record of the incident(s) and details of the exhibited behavior, and will conclude with a final decision being issued. Participants will remain suspended during the appeal process. The decision by the Department to refer individual(s)/team(s) to Student Services or MSU Police may not be appealed. 

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 been stopped, the player may not re-enter the game until the official declares the player eligible.


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 Use

Consumption of alcohol or other drugs prior to, during, or after intramural activities is strictly prohibited. No participant will be allowed into any contest if they are suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

If any member of a team is suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, the individual (and possibly the entire team) will be asked to leave the facility. If the individual, team, and/or team captain does not cooperate with Intramural Staff to help remove the suspected individual from the facility/field, the game may be forfeited. The player(s) involved will be suspended from Intramural competition and must meet with the Sport Administrator to discuss their individual reinstatement. The matter can also be referred to Student Services and MSU Police.


The Intramural Supervisor is the final authority during any intramural activity. The Supervisor will be responsible for the organization and management of the event so that a safe and enjoyable playing environment can be experienced by everyone involved.

The Supervisor may intervene to stop any activity, at any time, in cases where unsportsmanlike behavior, disorderly conduct, abusive language, and/or fighting has/may occur. The Supervisor may declare a forfeit to the team(s) or eject any participant(s) who engage(s) in such behavior.

Banned Equipment and Jewelry

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 includes, but, is not limited to: necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches, wearable fitness trackers, shorts/pants that have pockets, and/or hooded sweatshirts.


Headgear is not allowed to be worn by any participant during an Intramural contest. 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 sand volleyball, baseball style hats may be worn if they are judged to be safe, during colder months ski style hats are allowed, and during the softball league/tournament baseball hats are allowed.


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. The sole may be smooth or molded, non-marking, and non-abrasive. Street shoes, boots, and sandals are not allowed. No metal, or shoes that contain metal soles and heel plates will be allowed.

Additional Apparel Safety Information

NONE of the following are allowed to be worn during any Intramural activity:

  • Street pants (jeans, khakis, etc.)
  • Bare feet (except during sand volleyball)
  • Baseball Hats (except during sand volleyball and softball)
  • Shorts, pants, and/or sweatshirts that have pockets (during flag football)
  • 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.)

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 Sport Administrator one week before the start of the program, service, or activity. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible. Equipment used must safe for the individual, participants, and Intramural Staff as determined by the Sport Administrator.

Persons with disabilities may be accompanied by working service animals on the campus of Michigan State University consistent with the provisions of University Policy. All other animals/pets are prohibited during Intramural events.

Transgender Policy

Gender identity: individuals who identify as male or female 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 a transgender man or transgender woman are responsible for ensuring their players comply with all Player Eligibility Guidelines.

MSU Rec Sports expects participation to be based on one’s self-identified gender and that it is done in good faith and is consistent with a player’s expressed gender identity.

  • A participant’s gender identity will be applied when there are gender specific rules or player ratio requirements for co-rec divisions.
    • Transgender individuals may play on the team that best matches their gender identity.
    • Player eligibility will be based on the gender identified on the official team roster.
    • MSU Rec Sports recognizes that, for many, coming to know one’s gender identity is not something that happens in an instant; it is a complex process that can occur over an extended period of time. Transgender participants are encouraged to communicate their gender identity with the Department. Should the player not feel comfortable working with the Department, the individual can contact the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center.

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, 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

Additional Recreational Sports and Fitness Services Policies


The safety of all participants who use the Department 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.

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.