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Club Sports vs. Intramural Sports: What’s the Difference?

September 27, 2023
An illustration shows four characters wearing jersey t-shirts in a huddle, arms around one another.

Written by Sophia Myers ‘24, Digital Marketing Intern

Club sports and intramural sports each offer students a variety of recreational athletics options to participate in. However, there are a few key differences between them that may help you decide which path is right for you.

“There is something for everyone, regardless of your experience level,” says Jamie Starrett, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Competitive Sports. “It’s just a matter of finding a good fit.”

While intramural sports are made for casual fun, club sports are non-varsity competitive sports that require players to display a higher level of skill and commitment. “Club sports offer the opportunity to play against other college’s clubs,” Starrett explains. On the other hand, “intramurals are York College students and staff playing against other York College students and staff.”

Intramural Sports at York College

Intramural sports at York College of Pennsylvania are organized recreational activities, including sports leagues, tournaments, and competitions held among students at the College. Starrett describes intramurals as “structured enough, but not intense. The most important thing is having fun.”

There are two divisions for YCP’s intramural sports: A and B. The A division is for more experienced, competitive players. Meanwhile, the B division focuses more on recreational fun. “We are versatile with intramural leagues to fit everyone's needs,” explains Starrett. Students have the option to play on co-ed or single-gender teams, and any full-time student, faculty, or staff member with a valid YCP ID is eligible, except for varsity athletes.

As a York College student, you can create a team with your friends and sign up for your desired sport and division. Alternatively, if you would like to participate but do not have a team, look for teams asking for “free agents.” This way, you can request to join an existing team or teams can draft you.

Learn more about participating in intramurals at York College.

Popular Intramural Sports Activities

Intramural Volleyball

For intramural indoor volleyball, students can play co-ed A, B, men’s A, men’s B, and women’s. ITeams often have fun coming up with their names. This year, teams hitting the court include “You Got Served,” “Mission Unblockable,” and “Spike Tyson.”  It’s also common for teams to seek free agents.

Intramural Basketball

Students can play 3v3 basketball on a co-ed, men’s, or women's team during this intramural basketball season. In addition to pre-formed teams, there are usually spots open for free agents.

Intramural Flag Football

At YCP, students can play intramural flag football on co-ed A, co-ed B, men’s A, men’s B, or a women’s team.  Free agent spots are usually available.  

Intramural Pickle Ball

Play open singles or open doubles for intramural pickleball. Teams in the league include names such as “Big Dills” and “Vinegar Cucumber.” Pickleball is taking the world by storm, and with multiple teams and open free agent roster spots, the ball is in your court to join the fun!

Intramural Soccer

Get the ball rolling with intramural soccer! YCP students can play co-ed A, co-ed B, men’s A, men’s B, and women’s. This is a popular intramural activity, with multiple teams competing and looking for free agents to join the fun.

Intramural Innertube Water Polo

Dive into intramural innertube water polo by joining a co-ed team, an open team, or a women’s team. Practices and competitions are held in York College’s natatorium in the Grumbacher Center, which houses a 460,000-gallon indoor swimming pool.

Who Should Play Intramural Sports?

You don’t need to be a star athlete to play intramural sports — they’re for anyone and everyone, and at York College, teams are categorized by skill level to keep the competition fair. Starrett encourages any interested student to give these recreational competitive teams a try: “Everyone should play intramurals, because it is really fun.”

Intramural sports give students a chance to empower each other through leadership and teamwork. These team-based activities allow you to expand your involvement at YCP, rise above challenges, create meaningful connections, and enhance your physical fitness. During his time at YCP, Starrett has “seen a lot of student growth” through sports activities, providing an outlet for “positive physical exercise and that competitive fire”.

 As a bonus, winning teams will receive the highly coveted Intramural Championship T-shirt at the end of their season!

What Are Club Sports?

Sports clubs at YCP are student-run and usually practice anywhere from 2-5 times a week. All students with at least a 2.0 GPA are eligible to participate. Club sports are a “student-run organization top to bottom,” explains Starrett. “The students handle the budget, getting leadership positions, being the coach, and assigning playing times.”

Popular Club Sports Teams and Activities

There are a number of club sports organizations at York College of Pennsylvania. Some of the clubs you might find practicing on campus include:

  • Baseball
  • Cheerleading
  • Dance Excel
  • Dance Team
  • Equestrian
  • Fishing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Indoor Climbing
  • Women’s Lacrosse
  • Men’s Lacrosse
  • MMA
  • Women’s Rugby
  • Men’s Rugby
  • Men’s Soccer
  • Ski and Outdoor
  • Ultimate Frisbee

Learn more and see the full list of club sports at York College.

Who Should Play Club Sports?

If you are interested in a serious, competitive sport, but may not meet the demands required by varsity athletics, club sports may be a perfect fit. Club sports are an excellent opportunity for “students who have played high school sports and are still looking for that competitive outlet, but don’t have the time commitment for varsity athletics,” says Starrett.

With 18 different club options to choose from, there is something for everybody. “There is a variety of skills and a variety of fitness levels for every club.”  Starrett adds that there are also “nontraditional club sports, so everyone can find their fit.” If you choose to participate in club sports at YCP, you can look forward to an inclusive and encouraging environment.

Not only will students involved in club sports develop skills related to their specific activity, but you will also have the opportunity to practice communication and leadership. “A big bonus of being in club sports is that in the leadership positions, students get real hands-on leadership. You’re getting a lot of professional skills that you can use after college,” Starrett says.

You can also develop new friendships as you connect with fellow club members, engage in competitive challenges, and most importantly, have fun! “It’s not just sports, I think that people can find their friend group really quickly.”

Explore York College’s Campus Recreation activities and facilities!