Article courtesy of govaliants.com
PURCHASE, N.Y. – The Manhattanville College Department of Athletics and Recreation and Director of Athletics, Julene Caulfield are pleased to announce today, Tuesday, March 3, the addition of women's rugby as the Valiants' 23rd varsity sport. Manhattanville has been accepted as a member of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA).
"We are thrilled to continue to expand the athletic opportunities we offer to female student-athletes," said Caulfield. "Given the success of our current club rugby team and the growth of women's rugby across the nation, we are excited to make the transition to the NCAA Division III level."
Manhattanville joins the NIRA Division III developmental competition group, where the Valiants will compete against teams across all levels. NIRA is the sanctioned governing body for all of NCAA women's rugby and includes teams across Divisions I, II and III. Currently, there are eight Division I programs, five in Division II and seven in Division III. Manhattanville will become the eighth D-III member beginning this fall.
Since its inception as a club sport in 2015, women's rugby has seen a multitude of success. In just the last two seasons, the roster has grown by over 60 percent. Additionally, the Valiants were selected to compete in the 2019 Las Vegas International 7's Tournament.
Beginning in the fall of 2020, the team will make the transition to a NCAA Division III sponsored sport. Rugby is one of three emerging sports for women, which are intended to provide institutions with more opportunities for women in athletics. In order to achieve NCAA championship status, a sport needs to reach a minimum of 40 varsity programs – or show signs of steady progress – within the 10-year period of being declared an emerging sport.
"On behalf of NIRA, we are delighted to welcome Manhattanville women's rugby as our eighth Division III program," said Amy Rusert, NIRA Commissioner. "We look forward to working with Julene Caulfield and her staff in preparation for the Valiants' inaugural 2020 fall season. We are grateful for her vision and leadership in recognizing the value of rugby as an NCAA emerging sport for women."
Manhattanville is actively recruiting student-athletes for the fall 2020 season and applications to the College are currently being accepted. Visit Manhattanville College's admissions page at www.mville.edu/admissions for more information and to apply.
Additionally, with the move to varsity status, the Valiants immediately begin their search for a women's rugby head coach. All interested candidates can visit www.govaliants.com/jobs for more information and to apply.
Any other questions regarding women's rugby can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.