Women’s rugby petitions to become varsity sport

By Robert Myers Sports Editor

History may be in the works at SDSU as representatives from the women’s rugby club have begun meeting to discuss making women’s rugby a varsity sport at SDSU.

Club president Cady Olson said that the club’s petition is part of a large-scale move across the region to make women’s rugby a varsity sport at colleges.  

According to Olson she received a phone call earlier this summer and began receiving mail soon after fall semester began. Since then she has participated in conference calls with other teams to discuss where they are at in the process and to gain information.

“The first thing I had to do was we wrote a letter based off of a template to the athletic director and said okay, this is where women’s rugby is as a sport. This is where we are as a club, what we’ve done, our different successes, why we want to petition to go varsity,” Olson said. “We gave him [Justin Sell] that letter and a little bit of information on the varsity initiative throughout the United States.”

Olson also sent a copy to President David Chicoine to let him know what is going on.

This week marks the beginning of the meeting process as Olson prepared for a Tuesday meeting with Sell and the athletic department.

“I think for both of us, especially the athletic department it will be largely informational – all the benefits of having a women’s rugby sport right here,” Olson said. “They’ll want to know stuff like the number of games, what kind of league we’ll be in, budget of course will be a big topic, how’s it going to benefit the school [and] why there’s an interest in it.

Olson said they would likely be playing 16 games between spring and fall and that the budget would be similar to that of the women’s soccer team.

At this point in the process, Olson said the other clubs are at the same point as SDSU so it will likely be a while before there is some indication of which schools might make the investment in women’s rugby as a varsity sport.

“The big thing that it could bring is there is a demand for a women’s sport that is a contact sport,” Olson said. “Right now there’s really not that. Rugby offers that. It can bring in international students. There was a girl who had emailed me, but we don’t have a varsity team so that wasn’t appealing to her [as she was] looking for a place with more established rugby. … And then it’s just a different sport. It’s unlike anything else and it provides a unique opportunity for students.”