Rugby players enjoy club sports’ flexibility, some seek larger budget

Rugby Team members share their experience of both being able to put in the work and improve their time in college with a club sport while also not taking away time from their education.


Courtesy of Christine Varga

Women’s Rugby embrace each other at a tournament.

The women of the Baldwin Wallace rugby team have found the balance between competition and schooling within the club sport while looking to the future for growth.   

Varsity sports may demand a certain amount of commitment from their student-athletes, but club sports allow student-athletes the same benefits of varsity sports except in a more relaxed environment. Hanna LeMaster, a sophomore middle childhood education major and former member of the varsity tennis team on campus said that she enjoys the more relaxing environment of club sports. Lemaster said that it compliments her college experience while letting her focus on her education.   

Sarah Menke, a junior neuroscience major and executive board member for the rugby team, said that both the practice schedule of practicing at the end of the day along with making sure to leave for their games on game day has given her ample time to complete her homework assignments. She said that with those factors, she has never had to miss a class.   

“We don’t have the same time constraint,” Menke said. “We take it as seriously, but we also have more flexibility with our schedule, so it works out well.”  

Nontheless, rugby team member Isabella Fredirsken, a junior business and healthcare major and former track member, said that there is still the opportunity to put in the work.   

“I’m still just as sore, I’m still putting in just as much effort, it’s still just as competitive, [but] it’s just an easier schedule to work with,” Fredriksen said.  

Being a club sport, rugby receives its budget for travel and staff needed for gamedays from BW Campus Recreation, an entity within Lou Higgins Recreation Center that provides opportunities for open recreation, intramural sports, club sports and outdoor adventures, instead of how varsity sports receive funding from the university and athletics.   

Terrel Hicks, the graduate rugby assistant for club sports, said that Campus Recreation provides various functions for their club.  

“Campus Rec has helped provide bussing and administration help for the club,” Hicks said. “We help buy equipment and provide practice facilities as well. We have now hired a part time trainer, so there will be athletic training for club sports athletes.”    

Hicks said that when looking to the future for places of improvement, they may need help from the athletic department and the University to provide them with a larger budget.  

“There are many schools that do this already, and it works. Their teams are very successful, and because it would still be a club sport they could provide athletic scholarships and still have less liability than it being a varsity sport. That would be the next step. But at that point, one might argue that it might as well be a varsity-level sport,” Hicks said.