Roughly twelve years ago, the foundations of the NIRSA Championship Series were laid in Atlanta, as a group of NIRSA leaders envisioned creating a better experience for intramural and club athletes that provided valuable development opportunities for student officials and volunteers. After more than a decade of growth, The Series has evolved to encompass regional and national championship tournaments in four sports totaling more than 15,000 participants, 600 student officials and 1,300 volunteers.

To build upon the success of The Series and set strategic priorities for its future, the NIRSA Championship Series is excited to unveil its newly articulated long-term vision in the most recent episode of the SeriesTalk podcast. Check it out!

The long-term vision focuses on providing premier championship experiences in an experiential learning environment that creates valuable development opportunities for players, officials, and volunteers. Other key aspects of the vision for The Series include developing measures to define operational success, better educating members to volunteer for Series events and work teams, and finding creative ways to communicate the incredible impact of involvement in the Series.

“It’s now time to make some tweaks and take The Series to the next level.”

“I remember after the first summit of thought leaders in 2006, when the team developed the guiding principles for The Series (the NCCS as it was known then). We left not exactly sure how we were going to merge the sport club and extramural championship tournaments and our Association’s extramural and sport club committees to create the NIRSA Championship Series. But, over the past 12 years, leaders, volunteers, and hosts have helped shape The Series into its current structure, which is industry leading. It’s now time to make some tweaks and take The Series to the next level,” says Valerie McCutchan, Director of National Sport Programs at NIRSA Headquarters and veteran of NIRSA tournaments for nearly two decades.

NIRSA Championship Series Long-Term Vision

“I look forward to working with such a dedicated group of NIRSA members committed to mapping out the future of the NIRSA Championship Series,” says Randall Ford, Associate Director of Recreational Sports at the University of Texas and Austin and NIRSA Championship Series Chair.

The roadmap to next phase of The Series

To develop this updated plan, a task force was established comprising 15 NIRSA professionals that represent a wide variety of Series’ stakeholder groups, including regional/national tournament hosts past and present, Series chairs, NSC Board members, work team members, tournament volunteers, officials, and NIRSA Headquarters staff.

The NIRSA Championship Series 2.0 Task Force first convened at the 2018 NIRSA Annual Conference in Denver, and quickly assigned sub-committee work to gather critical data to aid the group in the decision-making process. This data included valuable feedback from students and professionals who have attended NIRSA Championship Series events, benchmarking the data against that from other similar organizations, and identifying opportunities to align The Series’ priorities with the NIRSA strategic plan.

Following in the footsteps of The Series’ original founders, the Task Force traveled to Atlanta this past summer and dedicated three days to analyzing the current Series structures and developing The Series purpose, promise, and priorities.

“We are extremely grateful for the recent work from the Series 2.0 Task Force, which has provided an inclusive, strategic vision for the growth of the NIRSA Championship Series,” says Stephanie McAlpine, RCRSP, Associate Director in the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington and NIRSA Services Corporation Board Member.  “This was echoed by the support from accountability groups including the NIRSA Board. The Series has a legacy of outstanding achievements and the future commitment outlined in the long-term vision continues to support meaningful participation for our members, volunteers, athletes, and officials,” she adds.

“The Series has a legacy of outstanding achievements and the future commitment outlined in the long-term vision continues to support meaningful participation for our members, volunteers, athletes, and officials.”

Valerie echoes Stephanie’s sentiments: “I am excited to work with the NIRSA Championship Series task force to lay the groundwork for the long-term vision.”

  • For more information, please contact Randall Ford, Chair of the NIRSA Championship Series Committee, Associate Director Sport Clubs, The University of Texas at Austin or Valerie McCutchan, Director of National Sport Programs, at NIRSA HQ.

Ben Strunk is currently the Assistant Director of Sports Programs at North Carolina State University and member of the NIRSA Championship Series 2.0 Task Force; he can be reached at bdstrunk@ncsu.edu.