The Fifth Quarter is a column written by Sports Editor Evan Neustater. The opinions expressed in the column are solely his own.

Rice’s football attendance continues to be a problem. Many efforts have been made to try to remedy the issue, but the turnout has remained low. While this is, of course, a byproduct of Rice’s small size and general apathy, there is a relatively simple solution that would help the problem.

Stop scheduling intramural games during football games. 

Seriously, it’s an easy fix and a very strange phenomena I’ve noticed through my years here. The athletic department is very aware of its lowly attendance figures: They’ve implemented all sorts of strategies to try to incentivize students to go to games. Yet, somehow, IM games are still scheduled during these events. There needs to exist a greater degree of communication between the athletic department and intramurals.

Part of the problem is many of the students playing IM sports are the same students that want to go to sporting events. My freshman year, my freshman flag football team had a game scheduled during the Rice-Houston football game, which was formerly our biggest rivalry game. Nearly everyone on the team wanted to watch game, so we had to make a special effort to get our game moved.

To this day, I see powderpuff games still scheduled during football game times. Often, these games will be moved, but they are originally scheduled during these inopportune times. This encourages the entire powderpuff team, coaches and fans to miss the Rice game to do powderpuff.

Don’t get me wrong, I love powderpuff — I even help coach my college’s team. But Rice football should not have to compete with powderpuff and other IM sports for attendance. It is already a strange Rice-specific phenomenon, but it remains a very real issue. 

Stop scheduling IM games during football games. The football schedule is released months in advance; there should be no excuse for accidental scheduling overlap. While this won’t fix the larger issue, I believe it will be a step in the right direction. In the end, it will be a small, simple solution to a larger problem.