Yale Undergraduate Intramurals
The Yale Undergraduate Intramural program provides an outlet for athletic competition for the Yale community. It is designed for maximum participation: one will find high school varsity athletes competing on the same team as PE dropouts. Teams are organized through the residential colleges, allowing any student to play any one of the sports offered. While the goal of most athletes is to win the Tyng Cup, the award for excellence, the goals of the program stress the community of the residential colleges, the values of sportsmanship and fair play, and the lessons learned through competitive sports.
How Intramurals Differ from Club Sports:
Intramurals provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in team and individual sports against other Yale college teams. The purpose of intramural sports is to provide exercise, recreation, socializations, light competition and fun to all levels of participants. The main differences between club sports and intramurals are that club athletes perform at a higher competitive and commitment level, host and travel to other universities to compete, and arrange their own practices, competitions, equipment, fundraising and budgets under the guidance of the Club Sports Office. Both programs, however, are largely student governed.
Yale Intramurals saw their beginning in the early 20th century. These early contests were designed for non-varsity athletes to compete in athletic competitions. The teams were mainly classes.
However, with the inauguration of the Residential College system in 1933, the Intramural program changed significantly. The teams changed from graduation classes to residential colleges in order to benefit from the closeness of the college communities. Also introduced during this year was the Tyng Cup, a gift from alumni George Adee, Sheldon Rose, and Malcolm Aldrich. The Tyng has been awarded annually since 1933 to the residential college that has won the greatest number of Tyng points at the end of the academic year.
The tradition of the Harkness Cup Games, or the Yale College-Harvard House Games, started in the fall of 1935. These games pit the champions of the two intramural programs against one another, usually the day before The Game. The winner of the most games is awarded the Harkness Cup Trophy, which incidentally was lost in the mid-1970s.
The Intramurals program is managed by the Director of Club Sports, Intramurals and the Outdoor Education Center, Tom Migdalski, M.S., who began working in Yale Athletics in 1984. The Director governs the program, hires supervisors and referees, processes weekly payroll, decides on new sports and eligibility rules with the IM Secretaries and Rules Committee, monitors safety, purchases equipment, is the liaison between the students and upper administration and oversees the execution of the program including facility acquisitions and weather decisions.
Crucial to the program is the Head IM Secretary, who is the student advisor to the Director, scores statistician, game and facility scheduler and IMLeagues.com webmaster, along with chairing the IM Secretaries meetings and electing the Rules Committee, which decides upon all questions, protests and rules updates arising from and for Intramural contests.
On the field, the Intramural Program is represented by a group called the IM Supervisors. These students make sure that all games are run smoothly and answer to on-field problems such as rule queries, equipment problems, and injuries. Working underneath the Supervisors are the Intramural Referees. Referees hold the on-field officiating power and work to make sure that the individual games run smoothly. They also record all necessary information pertaining to the game and report scores to the Head IM Secretary/Webmaster.
The main functional unit of the Yale Intramural program is the residential college. Each of the 14 colleges fields a team for all 30 current sports. The Intramural Secretaries run each college’s IM program. The main goal of the secretaries is to make sure that students within their college are participating in IM sports. In order to reach this goal, the secretaries name captains, organize IM study breaks, run sign-ups at the beginning of each season, and act as the liaison between the IM office and the residential college. Secretaries also attend a bi-weekly program meeting to discuss IM issues, which is chaired by the Head IM Secretary.
During any competitive playoff matchup for sports in a best-of-three series (i.e. Spikeball, Cornhole, Pickleball, etc.), a minimum of three different individuals must participate in the first two matchups, in order to ensure increased inclusion and respect for the nature of the series.
The Tyng Cup:
Awarded annually since 1933, the Tyng Cup is the most coveted of all Intramural Trophies. Each Intramural contest played throughout the year is weighted with a number of Tyng Cup points equal to the amount of atheletes playing at one time. Hence, soccer games are worth 11 Tyng points and basketball games are worth 5. If a college wins a game, they are awarded that number of Tyng Cup Points. Timothy Dwight has won the Tyng Cup the most number of times with 14, while Benjamin Franklin is the only college to have not won the Tyng after Pauli Murray’s 2021-22 championship left their fellow “new college” alone in that winless spot.