Rugby, and particularly women’s rugby, is one of the NCAA’s emerging sports. And now USA Rugby is building steam and finally rollin’ on the NCAA’s Emerging Sport Initiative for women’s varsity rugby under new USA Rugby staffer Becky Carlson.
“Female athletes in this country deserve a higher level of availability in the sport of Rugby,“ Carlson added. “Creating this opportunity for women can only lead to more opportunities beyond an intercollegiate career,” Carlson added. “In supporting the element of NCAA Varsity Rugby, we are ensuring an avenue of student-athlete participation, just as NCAA soccer or softball provides.”
A lot of us have mixed feelings towards rugby teams becoming varsity. I’m in favor of it ultimately because honestly, I’m tired of my sport being seen as “fringe” and varsity status at both the collegiate and high school level will add to our legitimacy and help all teams grow.
Others disagree. I’ve heard comments that being a varsity sport takes away rugby’s uniqueness, it’s social nature and may even affect the overall physical nature of the game.
Some of these comments lean more towards I don’t want varsity-status to ruin our after-parties, while others, like some of my own thoughts, realize that some of the great traditions of rugby is the camaraderie build with other teams and players through our social nature … but realistically, does that have to end completely?
I have also heard that the game would require less contact or physicality, that it might play by the same rules as high school teams where you can only drive a scrum a set amount of meters, etc. And all players will wear scrumcaps, shoulder pads, etc.
Any thoughts on this? Anyone have experience with varsity programs at any level?