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The Blue & Gray Press | August 19, 2019

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Rugby teams gain athletic department recognition

Rugby teams gain athletic department recognition


With the start of the 2015-2016 academic year came important news for
UMW’s men and women rugby teams. Previously a part of the club sports
program, both rugby programs will now be under the supervision of
Director of Athletics Ken Tyler. In becoming a part of the athletics
division, the teams will now be held to higher standards, as are all
varsity athletes, which means that each player will be subject to
random drug testing and expected to sign the Athletic Department Code
of Conduct.

Although the squads must abide by these regulations, they are not
considered to be varsity teams under the National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA); rather, the teams remain in a specific league in
which they have national governing bodies and participate in
collegiate championships.

With this change also comes some uncertainties. “The change from a rec
sport to athletics, I believe, will ultimately be beneficial. However,
it might take some time for the team to adjust,” said junior Vice
President of women’s Rugby Jaclyn Sherman. “We’re still trying to
figure out the ins and outs and what exactly us being under athletics
means, but once things get cleared up, it’ll be a good change both for
us and the school.”

Both the women’s team and men’s team will be undergoing many changes
this year along with that of being upgraded. Men’s rugby has recently
become active again after being suspended and inactive since last
March. They will be advised by a six-member committee which is
comprised of both faculty members and a parent.

Joining the men’s rugby squad this year is Min Sae Chae, the team’s
new coach. All of the returning rugby players have completed the
requirements of sanctions that were implemented last semester. The
men’s team remains to be under probation for the upcoming year, and
all of the members will be required to participate in a supplementary
sensitivity awareness curriculum.

For the women’s team, they plan to put their effort into building the
team up because a great number of their players recently graduated.
Advising on the topic of rebuilding, junior, Briana Bahr said, “My
expectations for the team are to get new players out to experience the
game so many of us love, to help build our team back up… Our coach
always tells us that our team is deeper than 15, and we stand by

Supporting Bahr’s statement about hopes and expectations, Sherman
stated, “We lost a lot of great players last year, so this year our
players have to step up. I believe we have the talent on the team to
achieve any goal we set this year, but we have to keep our heads in
the match every weekend. I expect our girls not to dwell on the
players we’re missing on the pitch this year, but rather focus on the
team we have and the potential we all possess.”

On Friday, the teams will be meeting with President Hurley so that
they have a clear definition of what exactly these changes will
entail. Although there is a degree of uncertainty at the moment, both
the men and women rugby players have high expectations for themselves
and their teams this year.


  1. Maddy Ernesto

    The men and womens teams are not connected. You have tagged Men’s Rugby and Mothers Rugby. Those are both the same Men’s Team. I would recommend tagging women’s rugby in the future. Thanks!