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Notre Dame to Roll Out Rugby this Fall

Notre Dame College will add women’s and men’s rugby as intercollegiate club team sports. The first group of rugby enthusiasts will enroll this fall and be ready for competition during the 2012/13 academic year.

The College will offer scholarships for student-athletes looking to play at the collegiate level in a sport recognized as one of the fastest-growing team sports in the U.S. The scholarships will be available for new students, who qualify and participate in club sports, in a similar way as provided for students participating in band, choir and theatre.

Listen to Dave Armstrong, vice president of development, announcing the rugby program on ESPN Cleveland.

Download rugby
program mp3 file.

“Rugby is played by nearly 400,000 youths each year,” said Notre Dame’s Dean of Students Brian Emerson. “At the collegiate level it’s a highly competitive club sport, and at NDC we want to provide the resources for student-athletes to play a part of a comprehensive and diverse collegiate culture. We feel that student life sports opportunities enhance what the NDC experience is all about and that student-athletes are more well-rounded students.”

The nationwide attraction of club sports has grown dramatically over the past few years, and the influence of these sports in attracting and retaining students with a shared interest is powerful. Club teams build camaraderie and offer alternative sports that other schools do not provide. They offer student-athletes a chance to play varsity sports. To date, NDC has implemented co-ed tennis, men’s soccer, competitive fishing, and men’s and women’s bowling at the club level.

Offering a greater variety of extracurricular activities is a low-cost way to boost retention and engage current students looking to connect with the school and their peers in a way that fosters teamwork, competitiveness and a chance to be a part of an established group.

To further put the sport of rugby in perspective:

  • Rugby is the world’s second most popular sport and the fastest-growing adult participatory sport in the U.S. It is growing at more than 20 percent a year at the school level.
     
  • There are 886 high school clubs and 854 college clubs for both men and women.
     
  • Women’s rugby is currently classified as an NCAA emerging sport in Divisions I, II and III.

As the College monitors the success of the initial rugby program, it will evaluate the merit of moving the women's program to NCAA status in the next several years.