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Adrian College Adding Varsity Rugby For Fall 2021

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Adrian College Adding Varsity Rugby For Fall 2021

Adrian College is in southern Michigan.

ADRIAN, Mich.(Adrian College Announcement) —Adrian College director of athletics Michael Duffy has announced that women’s rugby will be a varsity program that will be added next fall to the Bulldogs intercollegiate sports lineup, which is nearing the 50 mark.

“We are extremely excited to bring another great opportunity to our students in the sport of rugby,” stated Duffy. “Rugby has such great tradition. This new program will be an outstanding addition to our lineup of sports here at Adrian College.”

A national search is currently under way for a head coach to lead the new Bulldogs women’s rugby program. Rugby is among four current NCAA Division III sports – Acrobatics and Tumbling, Triathlon and Wrestling are the others – in the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program. (Equestrian is for Divisions I and II only.)

Go Here To See Coaching Job Postings>> (They are also looking for a men's rugby coach, but the men's program is not expected to be a varsity program.)

“We are early in our search for our women’s rugby coaching staff, but we already have some outstanding candidates in the pool that have applied,” Duffy said. “We have a great resource on campus in faculty member Scott Westfall as he is helping out in our search process as he played rugby for Colorado State.”

Meg Sharp, Adrian Athletics Senior Woman Administrator (SWA), added: “Rugby is an exciting opportunity for our current and future student-athletes to experience a unique sport. Rugby football is played worldwide and presents our campus community with exposure to an international sport. We are thrilled at the continued growth of our athletic department.”

Adrian’s women’s rugby team will be affiliated with the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA),the competition for NCAA varsity programs.

“The NIRA is thrilled to welcome Adrian College as our newest D-III NCAA Women's Rugby program,” said NIRA Commissioner Amy C. Rusert. “Michael Duffy and his staff have been a pleasure to work with --progressive and proactive throughout the entire process. We look forward to welcoming Adrian College Women's Rugby on the field in 2021 and to furthering the expansion of the NCAA women's rugby footprint throughout the Midwest."

The team will compete on the Back 40 field—a temporary site--near Nicolay Field (baseball) and AC Softball Complex until construction of a permanent site is built.

Recently, the College purchased the former United Auto Workers building on nearly 11 acres of property located at 1360 West Beecher Road. The plans are to develop an open field space on the north part of the property and will be visible from U.S. Route 223 for rugby competition in time for the 2021-22 school year.

The 10,000-square feet UAW building also will be the permanent home for AC Men’s and Women’s Wrestling and Men’s and Women’s Soccer, complete with athletic coaches’ offices, practice spaces, locker rooms and conference areas.  

The Emerging Sports for Women program was created in 1994 as a pipeline to support the advancement of women’s sports to NCAA championship status. The Committee on Women’s Athletics identifies sports to be added to the program. The program provides athletics opportunities for women and sport-sponsorship options for schools. Schools also may use an emerging sport to help meet membership minimum sports-sponsorship requirements and financial aid requirements.

A sport must have a minimum of 20 varsity teams and/or competitive club teams that have competed in a minimum of five contests to be considered for the program. The sport must be sponsored by 40 varsity programs to move forward to the NCAA governance structure for championship consideration. In the past 21 years, the following emerging sports for women have reached championship status: rowing, ice hockey, water polo, bowling and beach volleyball.

Adrian College is a private liberal arts college in Adrian, MI, Southwest of Detroit and about 35 miles Northwest of Toledo, OH. The college offers bachelor's degrees in 40 academic majors and programs, and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school has an estimated enrollment of about 1,600.