Rugby needs more participants for state sanction

Originating in England, rugby is essentially a mix of soccer and football that is a sport that is now played at essentially every level throughout the world.  At Cedar Falls, the rugby team is not a high school sanctioned sport; instead, it’s  a club. Athletic Director Troy Becker said, “The Iowa High School Athletic Association does not sanction rugby, so we are not able to do it as an official sport.” 

IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating said, “The Board of Control will not consider starting a new sport until at least 15 percent of the IHSAA’s members participate in that sport and, at that time, the Board of Control will determine whether a tournament series will be sponsored by the IHSAA in that sport. That would be approximately 55 schools needed.” 

Keating said, “We have had no schools contact us regarding their desire to have the IHSAA sanction rugby.”

 Keating used soccer as an example to show the process of a sport becoming sanctioned. “When soccer became a sanctioned sport, a very large number of youth and club programs existed and that provided a large pool of potential high school players. The next step was for schools to start soccer club teams.  Finally, when enough schools indicated they had programs with coaches hired, equipment purchased and available facilities, the IHSAA sanctioned it as an official IHSAA sport. In order for rugby to have an opportunity to become a sanctioned sport, a significant number of boys will have to participate in youth and club programs.  In addition, schools will have to reach out to us to request that we consider sanctioning it.” Keating was not able to comment on safety precautions due to the fact that it is not sanctioned.

As rugby continues to grow and become more popular, there will likely be consideration for the sport becoming sanctioned. Until then the clubs will continue to compete and play the sport they love, outside of the IHSAA.

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