Success in athletics at the University of Northern Iowa is not limited to just the varsity sports. The school’s womens rugby club team travels to State College, Pennsylvania for this weekend’s national sweet 16. Steve Murra is the coach for the club he founded back in 1994 as an undergraduate student.
Murra says he got into it because he was interested in it. He says they didn’t play well at first and then won the national title. As opposed to the varsity sports which go out and recruit players to come to school, Murra says the rugby club recruits from the student body. He says they go to freshman orientation in the summertime and set up a booth and and he says they usually get about 60 kids to come out.
The club won division two national championships in 2001 and 2002. It was after a second place finish in 2003 they decided to move to division one. Murra says they won the first title 54-3 and then 40-5 and he says they felt they needed more of a test.
Murra says school officials have discussed the possibility of adding women’s rugby as a varsity sport. He says other schools are also considering the sport in part because it can help fulfill Title IX requirements regarding the number female participants schools must have. U-N-I opens the national tournament on Saturday against Penn State. With two wins this weekend the team will travel to California to take part in the final four.