Photo by Noah Bryant

From March 3–5, students may have noticed that the CRC basketball courts were closed. That weekend, Tech hosted the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Championship Series Regional Basketball Championship. NIRSA was founded in 1950 by representatives from 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Now, NIRSA holds intramural tournaments in basketball, flag football, soccer, tennis and cricket for college students. NIRSA also hosts regional and national conferences centered around increasing participation in campus recreation programming.

The regional basketball tournament featured both men’s and women’s pool and bracket play with teams representing colleges from all over the southern United States. Teams of at most 15 players first participated in pool play. The top three teams in each of the four-team pools and the top two teams in three-team pools advanced to a single-elimination tournament.

Awards included first and second place team awards, team sportsmanship awards for each division, tournament champion award for first place team members, all-tournament team and MVP awards and all-tournament officials. The each champion also received a paid team entry free to the NCS National Basketball Championships at the Ohio State University in Columbus, which will take place April 21–23.

The memory of former NIRSA champion Sarah Fain was celebrated throughout the weekend. Fain was a fixture at NIRSA events until she finally lost her battle with colon cancer. Those involved with NIRSA took the opportunity to reflect on her tremendous impact on NIRSA and on campus recreation at Sam Houston State University, Georgia College, and Georgia Southern.

Matt Jarman, the intramural coordinator at Emory University said that “Sarah taught me so much in the time I was her student … she taught me how to be detailed, diligent, determined and accountable,” courtesy of nirsa.net. At Tech, tournament director Joshua Hamilton said that “she has done so much for the world of NIRSA and has been very essential to the success of intramurals across the country.” Often, the work of intramural directors goes unnoticed, but everyone involved in the NIRSA community knew exactly how valuable Fain was to promoting NIRSA’s goals.

On the women’s side of the bracket, GT Women’s Basketball, GS Dream Team, the Columbus Lady Cougars and VSU Power of Persistent qualified to the final four of tournament play. In the championship game, GS Dream Team beat Columbus to win the tournament. For the men, the Ivy Tech Bears, UNC Pembroke, Columbus Running Cougars and Single-A Allstars were in the final four. In the finals, UNC Pembroke won over Single-A Allstars with a score of 67-52 when all was said and done.

This regional tournament is hosted by a variety of schools around the South. Each school hosts the tournament for two years at a time before rotating hosting duties to the next school. Hamilton says that his favorite part of the tournament “was of course the dunks and multiple one point game winners.”

Although Tech is not lined up to host the tournament for another five years, Hamilton already has his sights set on some improvements he would like to see. As tournament director, he wants to expand the use of the televisions in the CRC for highlights and displaying player and team statistics. He is also interested in the potential to broadcast the championship games live and hiring a DJ for the weekend of the tournament. Tech’s hosting stint half a decade from now may be a very different one indeed.