Saluki Quidditch more about athletics than Potter universe


Dylan Nelson

Junior Mechanical Engineering major Matthew Lunde, 20, passes the ball to his teammateMonday, Jan. 29, 2018 during quidditch practice at the student recreation center in Carbondale. (Dylan Nelson | @Dylan_Nelson99)

By Ryan Demer, Sports Reporter

Although Quidditch is typically associated with Harry Potter, students at SIU consider it a sport of its own. Founded in the spring semester of 2012, Saluki Quidditch is an official RSO and club sport on campus.

“We had one kid on the team that just hated Harry Potter and would get mad when anyone would talk about it,” president of Saluki Quidditch Taylor Butler said. “There are some people that are really into it and others with a more athletic background who enjoyed the athletic aspect of the sport.”

Butler said Quidditch requires tremendous athleticism because of the contact involved and variety in the type of athletes that play because of how vastly different the positions are.


There are four main positions in the game respective to those in the Harry Potter books and movies.

“There are three chasers, one keeper, two beaters, and a seeker,” Butler said. “The beaters throw dodgeballs, which are called bludgers, at people to knock them off their brooms and force them to drop their ball. In the book, the bludgers flew on their own.”

The chasers’ job is to score the volleyball, which is called a quaffle, through one of three stationary hoops. Doing so awards the team 10 points per goal. The keepers are essentially the goalie in the sport, as they try to block the other team from scoring.

While most of the players are required to run for much of the match, they must do so while holding a broom for the entire contest.

“We do weaves during practice for the chasers, like the basketball drill where you practice running and passing at the same time,” Butler said. “We also do a triangle drill to practice passing fast and scoring.”

The seeker’s job only comes in the last stage of the game when the snitch gets released into the field. The “snitch” is typically dressed in gold and has a sock with a tennis ball hanging from his pants which is to be grabbed by the seeker.

Catching the snitch is worth 30 points and forces the end of the game. Butler said when the snitch is released during a close game, it is called being in snitch range.


“There are two styles of snitch play,” Butler said. “One is a more long-distance runner to tire out the seekers and the other is a physical type who tackles and throws the other seekers. The physical snitch is the more popular one now.”

The Southern Illinois Quidditch team is registered under USQ, the national governing body for collegiate and community Quidditch teams.

Every semester, the Salukis compete in regional and national tournaments against other teams and schools. This semester, they will be traveling to Missouri.

“I think everyone that plays it takes it seriously as a sport,” Butler said. “If you go to one of the regional or national tournaments, the people are serious athletes who put a lot of time in the sport and care about it being its own sport, not just one based off Harry Potter.”

Butler noted that most students on the team are engineering majors, while others are varied. The Quidditch team currently holds 18 players.

“I started playing my freshman year and I’ve made most of my friends here and it’s never boring, I’ll tell you that,” sophomore team member William Lisota said. “I was just looking for a sport to play and didn’t want to join any other major sports and Quidditch sounded interesting.”

The teams’ goal for the semester was to recruit five players and they have already reached the goal but continue recruiting anyone interested in the sport.

“If you can make it to one or two practices a week and can come to tournaments, that’s great,” Butler said. “We have some students that don’t want to go to tournaments and that’s fine because it’s nice to have people at practice.”

The Quidditch team practices on Mondays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. in the west gymnasium of the Rec Center. People are always welcome to come if they want to, Butler said.

“Whenever I tell people about Quidditch, I tell them it is the most memorable part of my college career,” Jeremy Devries, a computer science major and team member said. “I get to be active while having fun with it instead of coming to the gym and running miles and miles and also gives me a good sense of teamwork.”

Sports writer Ryan Demer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @RyanDemer_DE 

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.