Intramural sports in college are a great way to take a break from studying (or not studying) and get together with some friends to have fun. Basketball has always been my sport of choice, and in high school I never knew what club or intramural sports were, so when I found out that I could continue to play at Stony Brook, I was thrilled.

I have always played in the coed division, because the women’s league usually doesn’t pick up enough sign-ups. However, this semester in 3v3 coed intramural basketball, I was shocked and upset to hear of the change in rules that was implemented. The handbook from Stony Brook’s IMLeagues website states the following for coed 3v3 rules:

Males cannot jump to block female’s shots

Penalty = Goaltending (score the basket)

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Males cannot score in the paint area (the rectangular box)

Penalty = loss of possession & basket does not count

I find these rules both unfair and biased toward both sexes.

Coed intramurals have always tried to encourage participation from females, because as I mentioned, women’s leagues don’t usually have many sign-ups. However, though these rules may be trying doing that, they’re counterproductive. Honestly, in the year 2015, I’m shocked that these rules would ever be implemented and accepted by anyone.

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According to Merriam Webster, the definition of “corecreation” is “recreation engaged in jointly by both sexes.” And, according to dictionary.com, the meaning of the prefix “co” is “indicating partnership or equality.” These rules are the exact opposite of equality. 

What the rules are implying is that males are better at sports than females, and thus should not be allowed to shoot in the paint (the paint is the closest spot to the basket). It’s very demanding on men and unfair to assume that their athletic ability is superior to females. That isn’t the case for every male, but that is what these rules assume.

On the flip side, as a female, I’m extremely insulted that a male cannot jump to block my shot. That is a part of the game. The whole point of a sport is to work hard to become the better player or team. Not allowing a male to block my shot is a slap in the face, and it tells me that because of my sex, I’m not skilled enough and I need an advantage on the court.

In my first game, I was given a completely open shot at the basket because the male who was close by couldn’t block my shot. I honestly wanted to take the point away. What’s the point of a sport if there’s no challenge? Additionally, there’s no fun in intramurals when people aren’t even playing real basketball, which is exactly what these rules end up doing.

I met with the intramural staff at the campus recreation center in hopes of addressing these unfair rules. However, very little was accomplished at the meeting. I was told that these rules are not meant to be sexist and are in place for safety reasons, and that I was the “one percent” who felt this way about these rules. I was also told that these rules are nationwide, and not just Stony Brook-centric.

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Interestingly enough, other SUNY schools such as Albany, Binghamton and Oswego have no mention of these rules in their intramural rules for basketball.

I know and completely acknowledge that safety is a top concern. However, putting these rules in place for “safety” isn’t exactly doing that.

These rules aren’t preventing females from getting hurt; basketball is a contact sport, and they can still get hurt by other females. These rules are also not protecting the safety of males. Why is it fair for a male to jump to block another male’s shot? What if one is a whole head shorter, or is weaker, than the other? If there is an issue with over-aggression, I say that it would be on the role of the coordinators or especially the referees to step in and let the players know.

What we face here is a problem of sexism and gender inequality. Until these rules change, unfortunately, the fun has been taken out of intramurals for me. I am very disappointed with Stony Brook’s intramurals for implementing these rules, and I hope to see change.

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: JIM LARRISON

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