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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (May 26, 2015) -- Almost 1,300 California Baptist University students participated in intramurals during the 2014-15 academic year. Thirty teams – 19 men's and 11 women's – competed in flag football. Several thousand came to watch the last games of the season at the Fortuna Bowl during Homecoming in November 2014.

BestColleges.com recently named CBU as one of the best colleges for intramural sports. Colleges were vetted based on the number of intramural sports they offered, the qualities of team management and coaching, and student surveys, which assessed how enjoyable intramural sports were to play at each school, according to the website.

Flag football, volley, basketball and soccer are the main intramural sports offered at CBU. Wiffle ball, kickball, ping pong, racquetball and dodge ball are available for one or two weeks or a single day event.

Intramural sports are popular for several reasons, said Tyler Cox, director of recreation programs. Students spend more time out of class, than they do in, so intramurals give them something to do. Athletes who do not play at the collegiate level enjoy the competitive outlet.

"The No. 1 thing, it just builds relationships," Cox said. "People are going to have a more enjoyable experience while they're here because they feel a part of something. They've made some deeper connections. I think that's going to overall just enhance the students' experience while they're here."

One of the most popular options is flag football. The season culminates with the Fortuna Bowl, which includes fireworks and brings an exciting end to Homecoming Weekend. Students often join a flag football team because they hope to make it to the end and be part of the event, Cox said.

At new student orientation, students learn about different opportunities for participation, from service projects to clubs to intramural sports. Sports is a popular activity that draws people together, Cox said.

"We've seen those connections last throughout the four years," he said.