Intramural esports FIFA team accidentally bans female players

Delaney Allen

Several female students were reportedly barred from signing up for an esports FIFA tournament hosted by the Colorado State University Intramural Sports team last week.

Addy Morris, second-year marketing and management major, and Callie Marshall, second-year human development and family studies major, reportedly tried to sign up for a FIFA tournament, a popular soccer video game, hosted by CSU’s IM recreation team.

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When they attempted to sign up, an error message appeared, reading “This League is restricted to a different gender, please change the league.”

Morris reported she had to reach out by email and phone call, and even then, she didn’t hear an immediate response back.

“They called me back, but by then, there was only one spot left,” Morris said. “They tried to tell us only one of us could play, but I told them that wasn’t fair, because we would’ve had spots if we weren’t restricted by gender.”

At the time, Morris and Marshall reported they were the only females in the tournament.

“I thought that it was kind of insane to be discriminated against because of gender in 2019, especially over a video game,” Morris said. “I think there should be equality, whatever sport or gender. I don’t think that should really be an issue.”

Marshall said that she is interested in IM Sports as a way to meet new friends and compete with other video game players.

“I thought it would be fun to do the tournament; I thought I could compete with that,” Marshall said. “When I saw the message, it was a little infuriating.”

IM Leagues, the third-party company that CSU uses to organize IM Sport registration, had apparently experienced a “technology glitch” that had prevented non-male students from signing up for the FIFA tournament via their Facebook page.

“Any individual can play any event in intramural sports; wherever they feel most honored in their gender identity, they can play. That’s our policy as campus rec,” said Brit Heiring, marketing and communications manager for Intramural Sports at CSU. “From our end of things, this was truly an unfortunate technology glitch.”

After receiving feedback from Morris and Marshall, Heiring and her team had to register the girls manually so they could compete in the tournament.

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Heiring explained that, from the IM team’s side, the league was open to all genders — male, female and nonbinary alike.

“We absolutely invite any student of any gender to sign up — not just men and women, but trans folk and nonbinary people as well,” said Heiring.

Heiring reports that the CSU IM team is working diligently with IM Leagues to ensure that future glitches do not leave students feeling excluded.

“Technology sometimes betrays us,” Heiring said. “We are trying to work really hard to make sure this doesn’t happen again. It’s awful to try to sign up for something, especially esports, that has been traditionally dominated by men, and be told you can’t.”

Delaney Allen can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @DelaneyAllen0.