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New rules for intramural team names

Let Me See Your TDs, Blaze it Like Beckham and Just the Tip.

While these may seem like the titles of R-rated films found in the deep trenches of the Internet, in reality they are the names of several intramural sports teams at the University of Calgary.

In October of this year, University of Calgary officials banned several intramural sports team names that were deemed offensive, sexist or that referred to illicit substances, following numerous complaints from the wider student population.

Many female students in particular had suggested that these monikers were further promoting the rape culture that exists on university campuses.

It’s not only Calgary that is tackling these concerns, however.

“We are in the process of developing guidelines around the naming of intramural sports teams,” University of New Brunswick spokesperson Kelsey Seymour said in a recent statement to the National Post. “Intramural sports team names cannot ridicule, degrade or humiliate others or involve the use of any sexual connotations.”

As URec’s Intramural Sports coordinator, Tom White is tasked with the oftentimes difficult job of determining what is and isn’t inappropriate in terms of team naming. He explained that the department is in the midst of developing a policy that is currently being implemented, and that will be fully put in place for the 2015-16 academic year.

“Like other groups, events and teams on campus, intramural team names are being reviewed to ensure they contribute to the inclusive, respectful and positive environment that we strive for at UNB,” said White. “We’ve informed team managers that we are undertaking a review of team names as part of our policy planning, and any teams with names that include offensive sexual connotations or humiliating language will be asked to choose a new one.”

White stated that this action is a proactive attempt to stay ahead of the curve in the changing landscape of university recreation and was not a result of any type of complaint about specific names.

Several students involved with campus intramurals believe that in some cases, team names have gone too far.

“I’ve played against certain intramural hockey teams whose names clearly have sexual connotations,” admitted one student who wished not to be named.

“For the most part they’re pretty clever and funny, but they’re definitely not team names that I’d want emblazoned on a t-shirt for the world to see.”

Conversely, other students believe that URec’s stance is an overreaction, with the team names being chalked up as “all in good fun.”

While some of the monikers are indeed quite humorous, team names such as “Beats like Ray,” which references NFL player Ray Rice’s infamous domestic violence case, are a bit harder for bystanders to swallow.

“I think names like that, that make light of the situation, are contributing to the stigma that surrounds domestic abuse,” said a female intramural participant.

“I don’t think it portrays those individuals in a positive light, and it will definitely have an impact on the school’s reputation as a whole.”

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