What is the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association – NIRA ?
The NIRA is home to the current NCAA Women’s Rugby programs charged with:
- Conducting advocacy and outreach as the rugby leaders in NCAA Emerging Sport for Women initiative. We collaborate with our Emerging Sports peers under, the auspices of the NCAA CWA and the Office of Inclusion and work directly with institutions and conferences considering adding or elevating women’s rugby
- Managing an ever-growing competition among all of our current members across all Divisions — as equitably and budget neutrally as possible. By managing member competition, the NIRA is able to assist each member institution in meeting competition minimums to ensure that all programs are countable when we achieve 40 or more programs and are engaged the CWA pre-championship legislation, sport sponsorship compliance audit.
- Collaborating with subject matter experts in referee and coach development disciplines to ensure that we are building infrastructure now, to support NIRA programs and programming now, that will be portable and sustainable during the transition to a championship sport and to a sport committee in the future.
- Conducting postseason championship to provide a meaningful postseason experience for rugby student-athletes.
Provide association-wide student-athlete academic and field performance recognition programs
Why consider rugby as the next varsity sport at your institution?
We invite you to review the following information as you explore the possibility of making women’s rugby the newest NCAA women’s sport at your school. As NCAA member institutions explore progressive, diverse and affordable and options to add to their varsity sport programming, women’s rugby emanates all three.
- Women’s rugby is the only low cost, high roster, full contact NCAA team sport for women.
Rugby is one of the most globally popular sports, played in over 130 countries and one of fastest growing team sports in the United States. As more high school student-athletes experience the dynamism and diversity of rugby and are empowered through the experience of playing a full contact team sport, they are desiring the opportunity to play at the NCAA level.
- Adding an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women demonstrates an institution’s proactive commitment to expanding athletic opportunities for female student-athletes. Adding women’s rugby as the only full contact team sport for women demonstrates an institution’s progressive commitment to reimagining the future of women’s sports.
- Rugby delivers significant value to colleges and universities; affordability; physical, cultural and socio-economic diversity, and the opportunity to carry a large roster with a positive bottom-line impact on EADA numbers (average NCAA DIII roster size is approximately 30.1).
2021-22 NCAA Demographics Database – Women’s Rugby
Click to view 2022-23 NIRA Member’s Race & Ethnicity Data — please note not all members reported
Funding an NCAA Women's Rugby Program
Your department would be responsible for determining a budget for women’s rugby commensurate with your other field sports.
Average Divisional Operating Budgets (excluding coach salaries):
- D-I ≥ $106,000
- D-II ≥ $45,270
- D-III ≥ $30,798
For more information, including data on coach salaries and staffing, please submit the contact form below to request our 2022 Assets Survey.
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