ETSU students launch app for pickup games

Contributed To The Press • Dec 6, 2017 at 2:09 PM

Four students at East Tennessee State University have developed and launched a mobile app aimed at making it easier for fellow students to join and schedule recreational pickup games on campus.

Pick Up & Play, available for Android and Apple devices, contains a map of all the recreational areas on campus and allows users to join and schedule pick up games for six sports — basketball, disc golf, soccer, tennis, Ultimate Frisbee and volleyball.

Arshene Baigvand, a senior corporate finance major, came up with the idea for Pick Up & Play last year. He enjoys playing pick-up soccer and basketball games several times a week, but found it increasingly difficult to arrange games.

“It’s a fragmented system right now,” Baigvand says. “You’ve got people going through Facebook, text and email to set up a game. It’s supposed to be something you do for fun, not something that you have to spend hours setting up and going back and forth with people.

“I feel like a lot of people encounter this problem, but don’t know there can be a better way.”

Baigvand developed a business plan and presented the idea for Pick Up & Play to a panel of judges at ETSU’s innovation and entrepreneurship competition, iBucs (Innovative Buccaneers) last April. Baigvand took home first place and a $5,000 cash prize to go toward further development of Pick Up & Play.

“Winning was great, but what was even better was that it gave me the opportunity to meet Caleb and Dakota,” Baigvand says.

Caleb Mitcler, a senior information systems major who took third place in the competition for his app, Picasong, sent Baigvand a congratulatory Facebook message and then offered to help develop the app. They met the next day.

Mitcler then reached out to another fellow iBucs competitor and classmate, Dakota Cowell, a junior information technology major who agreed to help with the graphics and build the IOS version of the app.

John Hardy, a senior information technology major and high school classmate of Baigvand, also joined the app development team to tackle networking needs.

“I’m not a computer science major, so this would have been a lot tougher for me to try to go out and do on my own,” Baigvand said.

The group used a collaboration chat platform called Slack to create both versions of the app remotely while living in various locations over the summer.

“Each time we meet they come up with something I never thought of and it’s beautiful,” Baigvand said. “There’s a lot of great things that come from that kind of environment. We have disagreements, but I think that leads to growth and a better product.”

Baigvand and the app team hope to expand the list of available sports as Pick Up & Play gains more users. They would also like to introduce the app to other college campuses and use it to help control the overuse of recreation fields.

“We want to make it easier for people to connect and break down the barriers that keep them from going outside and playing,” Baigvand said. “There’s more to Pick Up & Play than just the game itself. You get to connect with people — that’s the real point.”

To download the Pick Up & Play app, visit https://pickupandplayapp.com, or for more information, email [email protected].

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