UT RecSports implements three-strike policy

Tristan Stitt

A new policy at UT Recreational Sports will implement a strike system penalizing students for not returning equipment by the end of the day.

Like baseball, three strikes means a student is out and cannot check out equipment for the remainder of the semester. Previously, students could leave equipment anywhere in the facility without penalty, and staff members would collect the equipment that was left out.

Under the new policy, staff will collect equipment and dole out strikes at closing time.

Jennifer Speer, director of communications for the Division of Recreational Sports, said the new policy will ensure better care for equipment.

“Students are showing up and there isn’t any equipment available,” Speer said. “The whole point of this policy is to get students to take better care of equipment and get in the habit of paying it forward to other students who want to check out equipment.”

This policy is not a trailblazer. Recreation centers, such as the YMCA, often require a personal item collected as collateral until equipment is returned.

Speer said students will not receive any strikes until the official implementation of the policy sometime after spring break. Until then, staff members are giving a preemptive warning about the new policy every time a student checks out a piece of equipment.

Gregory Gym is the most-used recreation facility at UT, and basketballs make up the greatest percentage of checked-out equipment each day, Speer said. Noah Lisk, electrical engineering junior, said although staff members are currently warning players about the policy, he hasn’t seen a change in the way people handle the basketballs.

“I think it has good purpose, but I never even check a ball out,” Lisk said. “There are so many when you go upstairs, and I can 99 percent guarantee people don’t use the same ball they checked out.”

Biochemistry junior Tommy Phan, who regularly participates in pickup basketball games at Gregory Gym, said he disagrees with the new policy.

“It’s impractical because more people play than there are balls to be checked out,” Phan said. “If you’re participating in a game (using another player’s ball), you have to go search for your own ball and return it after you are done playing, and that’s time wasted. It should be left to employees to collect the balls left up there after the day is over, the way it used to be.”