Women’s rugby nears club status

Sarah Loesch

Freshman psychology major Dajha Brown works on a drill at the rugby practice on Tuesday. Coach Tyler Pipes and Assistant Coach Adam Kunkel man the drill before sending the team off to run laps. Brown was one of two women at the practice who are working to put together a women’s rugby club sport.
Freshman psychology major Dajha Brown works on a drill at the rugby practice on Tuesday. Coach Tyler Pipes and Assistant Coach Adam Kunkel man the drill before sending the team off to run laps. Brown was one of two women at the practice who are working to put together a women’s rugby club sport.

Dahja Brown finally found a sport she connected with in her senior year of high school.

“I literally tried every sport at my school and didn’t make the team,” she said. “I tried rugby and I actually liked it and was good at it.”

When Brown, a freshman psychology major, came to USI she was looking to continue playing rugby but found out it was not offered as a women’s club sport or intramural.

“I was like, ‘Let’s start a rugby team’,” Brown said. “It will be the perfect way to get out and meet people and start something new at USI.”

Brown said she never thought of rugby as an intramural but envisioned it as a club sport.

Scott Wood, club sports program director, said starting a club sport is not difficult, but there is a process which includes becoming a student organization first.

To become a club sport the team must have a president, vice president, constitution, bylaws and an advisor.

Brown said women’s rugby is really just one step (the constitution) away from club sport status, but she wants to wait until they are able to recruit more girls.

“Since we will be working as a team we might as well have the same goals,” Brown said. “Recruiting girls is probably the only challenge.”

Brown said the team has not had the “best of luck” with recruitment but is making an effort through posters and activity at the Student Involvement Fair.

With a men’s team already deeply established on campus, Brown and other interested women have an opportunity to practice with a team, but they are not able to compete.

Brown said the men’s team is interested in the idea of a women’s team and are supportive.

“They said, ‘Anything that involves us, you’re in as well’,” Brown said. “Basically, they’re saying, ‘You’re a part of the team’, but we can’t actually play with them.”

Wood said the need for a women’s team is there and some women on campus are interested, but “it isn’t going to be a snap of the finger.”

The team must establish themselves and find other universities to compete with.

Wood said there are schools fairly close with women’s rugby teams, but

which team can compete with them is something Brown and other members will have to figure out.

Brown said when it comes to equipment and cost she still has some questions, but also some ideas.

“I’m not saying it’s going to (be) cheap,” she said, “but I’m not really sure of the estimated price.”

Brown said since the team is new, there is no guarantee it will make it in the years to come, so she hopes the men and women’s teams can share equipment.

Wood said he thinks it’s great there is interest in having a women’s rugby team, but also said everyone involved must understand their roles.

“I have no problem with them wanting the moon,” Wood said, “but you have to be realistic.”