GREENSBORO, N.C. - Guilford College Director of Athletics Sue Bower announced the addition of women's rugby to the school's varsity athletics program Friday. The announcement raises the college's number of varsity teams to 21.
Beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, Guilford will sponsor a varsity women's rugby team. Since 2002 women's rugby has been considered an emerging sport by the NCAA. An emerging sport is a women's sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women and more sport-sponsorship options for the institutions, and also help that sport achieve NCAA championship status. Rugby, equestrian, and triathlon comprise the current NCAA emerging-sport list.
Guilford aspires to compete in Tier 2 of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) under the auspices of USA Rugby. There are 18 teams in the two-tiered NIRA, which uses 15-member teams in the fall and seven-member sides in the spring. Until that time, the Quakers could play against club rugby teams from regional colleges and universities in the Division II Carolinas League or with the National Small College Rugby Organization, which also plays 15s in the fall and sevens in the spring.
"The addition of women's rugby is a welcome addition to our menu of athletics opportunities," Bower said. "With Guilford's long and successful club rugby history and an excellent facility on campus, we look forward to fielding a competitive team right away."
The Quakers will compete on the grass field on the western edge of campus that borders New Garden Road. A search to identify the program's head coach is underway.