University of Arkansas Hosts State Teams for ‘Quidditch’ Tournament

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Brooms are not just for sweeping, in fact, many who attend college in Arkansas would argue they’re meant for playing sports.

Saturday, Nov. 17 local universities gathered in Fayetteville to attend a Quidditch Tournament being sponsored by the University of Arkansas. Teams attending included Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University, Hendrix College, the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, and Oklahoma Baptist University.

Harry Potter fans, you are in fact reading this correctly, these people will be playing “Muggle Quidditch.”

The sport is played very similar to the way it’s shown in Harry Potter, just minus that whole detail of flight. Players are required to have brooms between their legs at all times. There are seven players to a team, like in Harry Potter, three chasers, two beaters, one keeper, and of course a seeker.

Chasers throw a volleyball through a hoop, scoring their team 10 pts. per goal, while beaters hit players with dodgeballs to “knock them off their broom” and send them back to their hoops. Seekers, meanwhile chase after a cross-country runner dressed in all yellow who has a sock tucked into his/her shorts. If they get the sock first, they catch the snitch earning their team 30 points. Quidditch is also a co-ed sport. Every team is required to have at least two players of a different gender.

The sport may not be the NFL, but it does have it’s own league, the International Quidditch Association, which has created a set of rules and ranking system for the sport. The sport is actually quite popular too. Right now, according to the IQA website there are 824 Quidditch Teams in the United States alone.

Saturday’s tournament provided some interesting match-ups. The University of Arkansas entered the tournament ranked highest among the competitors, No. 36 in the nation, while UAFS was ranked No. 70. Hendrix followed with a No. 96 rank on the IQA scoreboard, while Oklahoma Baptist rounded out the ranked teams with a No. 133 rank, according to the IQA Standings List. Both Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas State University are unranked.

IQA rankings proved to be beneficial along with a home-field advantage to push the Razorbacks through to a victory on the Quidditch pitch. The team went undefeated against all teams attending Saturday’s tournament.

Their final round was against Oklahoma Baptist University, who had entered the tournament as an underdog, but turned things around to earn a spot in the finals. While OBU entered with a low ranking, a large contributor to that number was the lack of games they’ve played this season. OBU had only played two games this season against OSU, one of the most challenging teams they could’ve faced. OSU is currently ranked No. 27 in the IQA scoreboard.

Gameplay should cause quite a shake-up for teams attending Saturday’s event. OBU gained some key victories against No. 96 ranked Hendrix and No. 70. UAFS, along with a close game against the U of A team. These key victories should help OBU gain quite a bit of ground when the next rankings are released.

The next stop for most of the teams will be the Southwest Quidditch Cup. All teams competing Saturday represent the SW Region. The top 10 universities from the SW Cup will go on to participate in the “Quidditch World Cup” in Kissimmee, Florida April 13-14, 2013.

Of the Southwest Quidditch Teams, the Razorbacks are third in their region, behind OSU, and the University of Northern Colorado, so they’re odds of gaining a World Cup bid are pretty high right now.

With Saturday’s performance it’s clear the Razorbacks aren’t just a force to be reckoned with in football and basketball, right now these Hogs on brooms are also dominating the Quidditch Pitch.