Lottery draft alleviates sport clubs’ conflict

By Tiffany Blanchette

Nine numbered ping-pong balls, each placed into a city-themed Starbucks mug, sat before the Registered Student Organization sports clubs’ leaders. As each team called out a city, they received the mug containing the number that would determine their draft pick, which allows the teams to select their weekly practice venues and times.

The newly implemented lottery draft for the spring 2012 season brought together, for the first time, all nine sport clubs into the same room at the end of February. Practices for the clubs began the first week of March.

With the addition of more clubs this year, it became much harder to schedule practice and game times, said Kevin Ortega, a senior from Glen Ellyn studying mechanical engineering, and a member of the men’s soccer club.


“It became obvious that something had to be implemented, especially considering the chaotic procedure that didn’t really work last semester,” he said.

Facility scheduling for sports clubs is handled by Recreational Sports and Services staff members Shane Bennett and Todd Bryson, who oversee the facilities, disciplinary actions and funding for teams.

In previous seasons, facility scheduling has caused conflict between clubs and intramural teams for reasons such as the failed transition of paperwork and the scheduling process which used to work when there were fewer teams, Ortega said.

Ortega said when the process used to be on a first-come-first-serve basis, double scheduling would occur and would frustrate teams involved.

The new lottery system, field options and time availability relieve a lot of stress, said Phillip Bickart, president of the Sports Clubs Executive Board and Intramural Sports Club supervisor.

Facility scheduling is a joint effort when it comes to outdoor facilities, said Bennett, assistant director of Intramural Sports and Sports Clubs.

The fields generally available to clubs and intramural teams are the Intramural Playfields, the football practice field, Stehr Field, the upper field area adjacent to the SIU Arena and Sam Rinella Field, he said.


Bennett said this is the first season that intramural sports and sports clubs will have access to lights for multiple fields, which allows for more time slots in the evening.

There will also be a new track and turf field south of the SIU Arena, which will create another facility for teams, he said.

“Spring of 2012 is a good indication of what the future will look like for outdoor playing,” Bennett said.

Bennett said the intramural sports and sports clubs are fortunate that Saluki Athletics has formed a partnership with them, allowing them to collaborate and use spaces designated for athletics only.

Intramurals and clubs are able to host games at Saluki Stadium because of the relationship established with the athletics department, he said.

“We are trying to minimize our impact at Saluki Stadium, though, and these new assets to clubs and intramurals will be very beneficial,” Bennett said.

With the addition of more clubs this year, it became much harder to schedule practice and game times, Ortega said.

“It became obvious that something had to be implemented, especially considering the chaotic procedure that didn’t really work last semester,” he said.

“Getting all the clubs together for the scheduling has increased the camaraderie amongst sports clubs,” Bickart said.

Bickart, a senior from Joliet studying management, said the lottery draft arrived at a crucial time, possibly saving the club and intramural teams from fighting over scheduling.

“From a president standpoint, it gives teams more freedom,” Bickart said.  “By giving them more freedom, it also helps to increase participation, which clubs need in order to succeed.”

The lottery helped to create a neutral atmosphere, made them aware of all the available spaces and allowed teams to demonstrate their appreciation for each other, he said.

By bringing everyone into the same room, all clubs heard the same requirements and saw the same calendar, Bennett said.

He said with as many facilities and procedures going on behind the scenes, there are always bound to be mistakes.

“We do our best as administration to fix problems as they arise, and I believe we have a phenomenal student staff that works to resolve mistakes,” Bennett said.

One thing that can always be improved is the communication among the staff and between teams, he said.

Bennett said anytime there have been glitches, it’s usually because of a lack of communication.

He said it’s still a complex process because SIU has a large, unique participant base that requires facilitating hundreds of student participants.

“Aside from the nine outdoor clubs, we also have massive numbers of intramural sports teams bidding for the time and facilities,” Bennett said.

The lottery draft this season has helped streamline facility scheduling, which has produced positive feedback from the clubs, and he said he hopes it will continue to function.

“This time, there were no hidden doors,” he said. “It’s a system for the students, controlled by the students.”