TYPES OF RUGBY CLUBS
From grassroots club teams run by students to fully-funded varsity teams, there are many types of collegiate rugby programs. Within each program type, there are also a range of competitive levels including small schools (i.e., DIII), DII, DIAA, and DIA.
- Club Team. Club teams are student-run and overseen by either the campus’ Recreational Sports department or the Club Sports department. While Club Sports departments may provide some funding and support, the students are expected to operate the club, drive fundraising, and organize transportation and fields.
- Elevated Club. An elevated club is a rugby program that officially carries club status on campus. However, because of its history within the school, success on the field, or, most likely, significant alumni support, the program has enough funding to essentially operate as a varsity program.
- Non-Varsity (Athletic Dept-Supported). Non-Varsity teams are defined by what they are not. They aren’t clubs, but they aren’t listed as official varsity programs either. Run by the school’s athletic department, these teams have a paid coach and receive kits, travel, medical, and field space.
- Varsity (Non-NCAA). There is a small but growing number of college rugby teams that are varsity and operate under their athletic departments but aren’t overseen by the NCAA. These are typically men’s teams that have a long history of the game on-campus or have started their program relatively recently in order to use rugby as a way to grow or diversify the student body.
- Varsity (Women’s NCAA). About 25 women’s rugby teams operate as varsity programs as recognized by the NCAA. These programs have scholarships, paid coaches, and full funding. They also follow very specific restrictions under NCAA when it comes to seasonality and recruiting.