NIRSA and the International Cricket Council (ICC) have been working hard to develop cricket on college campuses throughout North America since partnering back in Winter 2016. The ICC is cricket’s international governing body; it’s responsible for organizing and governing cricket’s major international tournaments.
As part of the partnership, NIRSA and the ICC launched a pilot program supporting various NIRSA member institutions as they introduced cricket to their communities. Our pilot programs are clustered at institutions throughout the United States. The ICC and these schools have taken steps to market cricket on these campuses—often while adapting the rules of the sport to fit with a school’s facility constraints.
The first year of this pilot program has been focused on intramural play, so we have been working with our participating schools to activate intramural tournaments and leagues. Spring has seen an uptick in cricket tournaments and events throughout our pilot schools.
North Carolina State University has generated a solid level of interest in cricket among its students, and they just finished a league season that ran from February 19 to March 26. Playoffs are currently underway. The league was comprised of seven teams and over 75 participants. NC State’s IM program works with their club cricket team; they share resources and knowledge so there’s mutual benefit in growing both the club program and the IM league.
“NC State University Recreation is now in its fourth semester offering intramural cricket as a league or special event,” explains Ben Strunk, Coordinator of Competitive Sports at North Carolina State University. “Traditional intramural sports such as flag football, soccer, and softball still have a large demand, but we have seen an increasing demand for non-traditional programming in our efforts to promote healthy, active lifestyles to our entire campus at NC State.” Ben goes on to say, “We are excited to provide an opportunity to participate in cricket for students who grew up playing the game and beginners who want to learn how to play something new.”
Arizona State University has recently finished the regular season of their cricket IM league. They will play the final match of their playoffs on April 23. The cricket league at ASU has six teams and nearly 60 participants. Both NC State and Arizona State provided open play for their leagues, which was aimed at drawing increased female participation. While NC State offers both an indoor and outdoor cricket league, Arizona State provides outdoor facilities for their students’ intramural cricket.
While there are no set guidelines for field dimensions, many schools are working diligently to make space for intramural cricket opportunities. Some are adapting their cricket rules to suit their indoor facilities while others have students play outdoors. In an exciting move, the University of Texas at Dallas is moving forward with a brand-new cricket pitch! They plan to have the pitch open for play in their fall term. The new field will allow them to organize an outdoor intramural event and offer events every semester. This should grow participation and interest until they can offer an intramural cricket league in the following terms.
NIRSA is enthusiastic about the amount of interest building for cricket as a recreation opportunity. As we continue to develop cricket IM leagues throughout the country, our goal is to see every student swinging a cricket bat. Let us know if you’re interested in expanding the cricket opportunities for students on your campus!
- For more information, contact NIRSA Director of Campus Activations & Collegiate Cricket Programs Adam Pruett.