In what could turn out to be a big step forward for rugby in the United States, Quinnipiac University announced a plan to add women’s rugby to the school’s athletics program to meet the school’s Title IX compliance.
For those readers who don’t know, Title IX is a federal requirement that mandates that athletics programs offer an equal number of sports scholarship programs for male and female athletes. Since American Football tends to take up so many scholarship places in an athletics program, universities usually scramble to find enough women’s sports to balance the scholarship scales. Quinnipiac originally tried to claim cheerleading as a sport but U.S. District Court denied that, so in order to better meet the requirements of Title IX they are adding women’s rugby and golf as varsity sports.
This is an opening for rugby that I’ve seen for a while. While many ruggers and former ruggers wanted to see men’s and women’s rugby available in colleges, men’s rugby was never going to really become a varsity sport – outside of a few unique university programs such as California. But women’s rugby, which is now considered an “emerging” NCAA sport, has had an opening for a long time since so many colleges are looking for ways to balance out the impact of America Football.
Too few universities have taken advantage of adding 35-40 women’s athletes to an athletic department – instead they have slashed men’s sports such as gymnastics or wrestling. Women’s and men’s rugby clubs and local unions should be contacting the NCAA and their local universities and colleges to push for women’s rugby to be included as part of their programs. This will also open up a lot of positions for collegiate rugby coaches and assistant coaches.
Sorry guys, but you’re screwed on this little deal. Blame it on the Dallas Cowboys.