College rugby players in the USA
Of D1A rosters are international players
Average scholarship for ASM rugby players

How to get a Rugby scholarship

Athletes from all over the world who are preparing themselves for a professional career in Rugby have benefited from scholarships within the American college system. AJ McGinty, Paul Lasike, and Naya Tapper are just three names who have taken this route in order to be ready for their careers on to the international stage.

The impact of international players has grown steadily over the last few years. Of all current men’s D1A rosters, almost 15% come from outside of the US. It is also important to remember that there is more than one path to career success.

You are not confined to only one division in order to pursue a professional career after college. Several MLR players chose routes other than D1A to prepare themselves and enjoyed great success in their careers. All whom received rugby scholarships. Rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the US. Women’s rugby is a recognized NCAA sport whilst men’s is recognized as a varsity sport on 30+ campuses in the US already.

We have put together a selection of Rugby scholarship videos that will help you learn how to receive Rugby scholarships.

How to qualify for a rugby scholarship?

You might notice that men’s rugby rosters tend to be quite big, with the average team size being made up of 35 players. Here’s why—only the starting 23 travel to games. Therefore, when it comes to offering scholarships, coaches typically recognize the top twelve to twenty players on their team.

That’s why student-athletes looking to land an athletic scholarship need to know exactly what each coach is looking for in their recruiting. There’s actually an equation that many coaches use to determine who they’ll recruit. How many players do they have graduating I that position and what positions are they looking to recruit depth into. Of course, in some cases where the college is already extremely competitive, this equation isn’t always foolproof. But it’s a great way for a coach to determine how they can better their program. More importantly, it’s a useful tactic for student-athletes to help them determine where they can be competitive and earn a roster spot. Remember, though, that coaches usually consider a strong rugby resume and adequate game footage to evaluate a potential recruit.

Beyond athletics, there are steps recruits can take to get on a coach’s radar:

  1. Know the different division levels: Before reaching out to college coaches, student-athletes need to do their homework and learn about the different divisions and conferences. For example, which ones offer Rugby scholarships? And what do you need to qualify? In men’s rugby, D1A, D1AA, D2, NCR and junior colleges offer athletic scholarships.
  2. Academics: An outstanding GPA and high test scores show college coaches that you’re more likely to succeed in a college setting and can possibly earn academic scholarship money. They’re continuously looking for well-rounded athletes who excel academically.
  3. Online profile: To improve your chances of being evaluated by college coaches, you need to build an online profile that showcases your playing ability, rugby experience and highlight video. Coaches simply can’t see every recruit in person. Your online profile allows them to evaluate your fundamentals and athleticism. You can build a free profile on our website so coaches can find you.

Varsity vs Club rugby programs

Varsity refers to the principal teams representing a college or university. Primarily these teams compete against similar teams at peer educational institutions. Additionally varsity programs receive significant support in resources. Typically these resources take the form of financial support, facilities, equipment and scholarships from college and university departments. Rugby programs that have a full varsity status at the University have the ability to offer rugby scholarships as well as academic and/or international awards.

Club sports can be very similar to varsity sports in many different varieties of ways. Both offer a chance to play a sport after high school graduation and both give athletes the ability to show off their skills against other athletes who attend different universities and colleges. Programs that have a club status for rugby are predominantly funded by club sports and alumni on campus. Programs with club status usually have a full time coach and can even offer academic scholarships and or international awards whilst also being able to tag students applications giving them an advantage in the application process. Schools like the University of Arizona, Dartmouth University and UCLA have been incredibly successful programs whilst maintaining a Club status on campus.

What are the best colleges for rugby scholarships?

We’ve compiled a list of the best mens rugby programs in all three NCAA divisions and the NAIA. An important thing to note is that these programs are by their traditional NCAA or NAIA division that the University associates itself with. With rugby all colleges are governed by USA Rugby and compete across divisions. This way the best Universities compete week in week out against each other.

  • NCAA Division 1: University of California Berkeley, University of Arizona, Arkansas State University, Saint Mary’s University – California, Brigham Young University, Penn State University, St. Bonaventure University, Grand Canyon University.
  • NCAA Division 2: Lindenwood University, Central Washington University, Kutztown University, Davenport University, Notre Dame College.
  • NAIA: Life University
  • NJCAA: Iowa Central Community College

Rugby Scholarship FAQ's

Can you get a rugby scholarship?

In the United States, Rugby is primarily a club sport played on college campuses and students dues, fees and fundraising, usually cover expenses. Nevertheless, more and more programs are being identified as varsity programs that provide scholarships or receive substantial funding from their schools for the programs operations.  The university may also help the teams with access to training and competition facilities and financial help to cover some expenses.  Rugby scholarships include a variety of offerings from tuition grants, to dues or fee waivers, to in-state tuition rates for out-of-state students. The list provided below is not a comprehensive list of schools that offer assistance.  The student is encouraged to make an inquiry with teams and schools that interest the student

Am I eligible?

Having a high enough GPA or SAT/ACT score is the passport to obtaining an American football scholarship. Achievements on the football field will count for nothing if you do not have the right academic grades. ASM Scholarships team has the ability and the experience to steer you through the qualification process. It is an integral element of our approach to carefully evaluate and fulfill your personal potential by tailoring a college program to improve your grades if necessary.

Is there D1 for rugby?

Division 1-A Rugby (formerly known as the College Premier Division) is the highest level of college rugby within the United States and is administered by USA Rugby. Division 1-A rugby is modeled after NCAA athletic competitions, with the 67 D1-A rugby schools divided into eight conferences: East, Mid-South, Rocky Mountain, California, Big Ten, Liberty, Red River, and PAC.

Is rugby played at US colleges?

US College rugby is played throughout education institutions, all over the US. It has existed there since the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s when rugby really took off.  College rugby does not fall under the auspices ‘NCAA’ but rather ‘USA Rugby’ with the exception of fifteen NCAA women’s programs. There are over 32,000 college players registered with USA Rugby and today, college rugby continues to grow in popularity and is considered one of the most rapidly expanding sports across college campuses. US College rugby includes a national competition which began in 1980, where California has won the majority of titles, with other teams such as: Air Force and BYU also being victorious in multiple championships.

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