The Weirdest College Sports

Explore strange intramural and club sports at colleges and universities across the country.

For particularly unique students, common college sports can seem extremely dull. Football, baseball, and basketball just don’t hold their interest like paintball, underwater hockey, or quidditch. While you won’t catch any of these sports regulated by the NCAA anytime soon, many weird sports have devoted followings in college.

These games are played as either intramural sports or club sports, and though you won’t see these games on ESPN U, you might discover a new passion for one of them when you head off to college.

you might discover a new passion for one of these strange games when you head off to college.

Sword, the Medieval Combat Society

The University of California at Irvine has groups that meet to battle each other using foam swords and other soft weaponry. Battle tactics, military formations, and weapons training are some of the core fundamentals taught in these groups. Members have to attend team practices where they train fighting techniques specifically designed for large, toy weapons, and they compete with other groups in other cities from time to time.

Muggle Quidditch

Named for the magical game played on broomsticks in the Harry Potter books, Muggle Quidditch, or Ground Quidditch, originated at Middlebury College in Vermont. There are four positions and three types of balls, and the game is known to be rough, fast-paced, and high energy.

Players can score points by throwing one type of ball through a series of hoops, which are guarded by one member of the opposing team. Other players can throw a different type of ball at the players themselves, who must run back to their own goals as a penalty for getting hit.

Finally, a neutral player known as “the Snitch” runs around the field. One player from each team called “the Seeker” tries to grab a flag or ball attached to the Snitch, similar to the flags in flag football. When the flag is caught, the player’s team earns bonus points and the game is over. Typically, the Snitch is actually allowed to run in a designated area well outside the field where play is taking place, and the Seeker may follow him or her.

While Middlebury College has won all national championships held since the game’s inception, other top teams include Emerson, Boston University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Sprint Football

Sprint football follows the same rules as regular college football, but one extra regulation requires that all players weigh 172 pounds or less. In a regular game dominated by bulky players, sprint football offers average-sized (or smaller) players the chance to play football competitively. The philosophy of sprint football is that everyone should have the chance to play football, and that execution on the field trumps time spent in the weight room.

Sprint football has been around for close to 80 years and six teams currently compete against each other. Princeton and Penn helped to found the sport and the compete against the likes of Army, Cornell, Mansfield, and Navy.

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