Women’s rugby not nearing club sport status

Photo Courtesy of Evansville Vandals Rugby Team
Members of the 2017 Evansville Vandals women’s rugby team. The team is slated to compete against the Dayton Area Rugby Club (DARC) at the USI Rugby Pitch 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

Two years ago a USI women’s rugby club was in the works. The team, once formed and given club sport status, would function similarly to the men’s rugby team.

Both teams would compete against other National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) teams and the eventual goal of vying for a NSCRO (the governing body for small college rugby teams) championship would top the team’s agenda every year.

But that’s no longer the case. That’s where the Evansville Vandals women’s rugby club enters the equation.

There’s still a team for USI women to play rugby for; it just isn’t through USI.

Team President, Alex Macy, said she doesn’t see that as a bad thing.

“You have a certain amount of time that you’re allowed to play rugby (in college) and if you’re out of that time, then you’re not allowed to play anymore,” the junior sports management major said.

The policy Macy referred to is directly started within the NSCRO guidelines and reads:

“NSCRO provides each student-athlete with five (5) years to compete in collegiate rugby within a seven (7) year eligibility period from the date the student-athlete first enrolled in a university or college.”

According to Macy, there are at least four members of the 18 on the team currently that would be disqualified from participating in any NSCRO sanctioned events.

Macy said since the NSCRO rules would prohibit who can join the team.

As of right now, the team has no plans to pursue club sport status in the traditional sense, but they do plan on becoming a USI club.

She said the team plans to do this so they’ll be able to participate in the involvement fair and utilize any other services USI clubs can take advantage of.

To become a club, the team needs five USI students joining at the ground level, a full-time USI employee to serve as the faculty adviser and will have to establish a constitution to serve as the guidelines members must follow, Kyle Johann, program coordinator for student organizations and leadership, said.

Johann said since the team has already established a faculty adviser, most of the leg work left for the team centers around writing and rewriting the organization’s constitution.

“Even though their organization is built around a sport, we still have them create a constitution that is much like any other student organization’s process,” he said. “… Once they go through the very beginning of the steps, they can start reserving space on campus as a new student organization.”

Until the processes required for new organizations are completed, there will be a hold placed on the team which prevents registering for spaces on campus.

Jenn Horn, an instructor in the English department, is on board as the team’s faculty adviser for the club.

Horn is no stranger to contact sports, she plays on the Demolition City Roller Derby team in Evansville. That’s one of the reasons she was more than willing to serve as the women’s rugby club’s faculty adviser, once the club is officially established.

Horn is also who the USI skate club, another proposed club that is in the process of obtaining club status as well, has selected to be the faculty adviser.

“I think it’s important for women to have access to all kinds of sports, including those that tend to be a little more full contact,” she said. “I think women should have access to those kinds of sports and they don’t always.”