Thursday, April 12, 2007

Even more on varsity girls rugby...

Given that it's spring break for most teams and this varsity status question has generated a lot of interesting responses, let's kick it around a little more. I decided to start a new post and ,link back to the post here to draw attention to the fact that the comments are on-going.

One commentator had some positive things to say which I think are worth repeating:

There are no negatives to interscholastic athletics...none.

Providing opportunities for student-athlete enrichment never has a down side.

Parents, BOE, AD's, coaches, teachers, community leaders will find a way if they have the students best interest as their focus

I agree with these points, and would add that if all individuals involved came to the table around a particular sport with these beliefs, there would be a lot of positive results. The attitude of the players, rugby coaches, parents, as well as school leaders and coaches of existing sports, is essential to moving forward (as the commentator appropriately coined it).

I have one more thought (for now), based on a conversation I had recently with a school administrator. Club sports should not come to the table demanding varsity status and demanding resources. This only creates conflict or potential conflict between the school community and the club. Rather, club sports, such as rugby, should come to the table and offer something of value to the school community, i.e. a new opportunity for student involvement and a set of supportive volunteers.

At this early stage in the game, having a positive school-club relationship (which allows teams to form an identity around the school and increases recruiting/publicity opportunities) far outweighs any short term gain from having varsity status. Varsity status will come over time as a result of overall growth in the sport, and not through pressure by individual clubs on individual school athletic programs.

I would note that other models, i.e. the community based model, have been very successful. Vernon has built its program through its park and recreation department. The focus on varsity/school based rugby should not overshadow the fact that local park and recreation departments have been and continue to be a real resource for the girls rugby clubs here in Wisconsin.


Anonymous said...

Dan and others who have posted about the HS varsity rugby

I would like to thank you all for your patience

Briefly I would like to mention my qualifications to not only comment on this subject but to offer a path forward

First, I am not part of the club rugby community, player, referee, administrator or associated with club rugby at all. I was a two sport student-athlete in high school and a two-sport student-athlete in college. HOWEVER, HAD I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY GIRLS RUGBY IN HIGH SCHOOL I WOULD HAVE REALLY ENJOYED IT...VARSITY LEVEL ONLY...I WOULD HAVE NOT ENTERTAINED THE IDEA OF CLUB RUGBY.

I do understand there is currently no high school rugby anywhere in the country and only a handful of college teams in the U.S. as well. So building an infrastructure is paramount. And I do not think anyone realizes how short time is.

I would like to split this into two groups

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the situation with the athletic directors who have responded or any other HS administrator, teacher, coach or parent of HS athletes only. This would be one group

The other group would be club coaches, administrators and parents.

While there are similar answers to some questions the path forward separates and then as questions and answers develop in each group the path forward comes back together

I do not wish to do this on line to both groups so respectfully please identify who you are so each group is on a different/same page and the conversations can be forward thinking

As I mentioned, the path forward while similar also has differences i.e. one is an athletic system and one is the recreation activity system; one is an inclusive system and one is an exclusive system; one has a very organized system 50, 60, 70, 80 years old and one is in its infancy by comparison...there are lots more reasons but I think you all get the idea. CAN BOTH SYSTEMS CO-EXIST...ABSOLUTELY...IT WORKS IN ALL THE OTHER SPORTS

If we keep our focus on all the students and not just the girls playing club rugby, there can be opportunities presented not thought of or presented yet

Then each group can evaluate and absorb the presented materials separately and then a common path forward can be achieved benefiting everyone

I look forward to working with all of you via e mail and would welcome an opportunity to make a personal presentation. An open forum after the basics are sorted out would be very beneficial

I do have one request of the club community which would be helpful to further our discussions. Could you please engage the HS soccer coaches as well as the U 18 and U 17 club soccer coaches in your area. Can you compile this data from these coaches...Questions...Is part of your coaching philosophy and job to help find college playing opportunities for those girls on your team who wish that avenue and are talented enough. If the answer is yes then can the coaches please provide the data of how many go on to play soccer in college either at D I, II, III, NAIA, or JUCO. How many at each level per year.

No need to gather that data for U- 18 club rugby I already have that information

Again I would like to say thanks. I hope you all will give me the opportunity to present something that can be very special to everyone involved

my e mail is

Blondie said...

BB - You are wrong in your assumption that just because teams are "club" that means they are less worthwhile than varsity teams and it is your loss if you wouldn't "entertain" the idea of playing for these teams. You're elitism is hurting your quest for more information and a great experience of playing rugby.

Varsity status for pre-existing club teams would simply provide greater funding and support in the schools, not increase the validity of the teams. These club team athletes validate our sport every day on the field.

And you are further wrong that "there is currently no high school rugby anywhere in the country and only a handful of college teams in the U.S. as well". There are high school and college rugby teams everywhere! In the Midwest alone, there are 55 registered HS girls' teams, 82 women's college teams and 27 women's senior teams. 5000 players! The majority of these teams have started in the past 10-15 years as well.

In fact, collegiate women's rugby is one of the fastest growing women's sports in the country, number one for a contact sport among women. And the vast majority of these teams - teams that can play for a recognized national title! - are club teams. It is because of these club teams that High Schools, HS Athletic Associations and the NCAA are paying attention to rugby becoming varsity. It is an official NCAA emerging sport.

I appreciate your enthusiasm for learning more about rugby teams and the possibilities of becoming varsity, but you need to stop working under the assumption that becoming "varsity" is the end-all, be-all of rugby in the US and without it, rugby is allegedly non-existent. Go check out some of the club teams in your area. I think you'll find that these club athletes are running just as hard as any varsity athlete out there.

- A three-sport varsity athlete in HS who chose not to run collegiate varsity track to play club rugby.

Anonymous said...


Well you certainly validated why the two groups need to be separate...find a way foward individually...then find common ground forward. Rugby has always had passion just like all the other sports

I choose not to discusse this over the internet. Please contact me directly with ideas and a plan to engage the interscholastic comunity

However I did choose my words very carefully. I am a sports professional and understand all sports very well AND ALL MY DATA IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT
thanks BB

Anonymous said...


was doing some research and found this

seems like these folks really have the college and high school rugby stuff figured out. GREAT SITE !!

You may want to contact them about your varsity HS ideas