Editorial: Women’s rugby suspended for the year

Staff Editorial

This year’s women’s rugby season was suspended for what Eastern’s Athletic Director Tom Michael calls, safety reasons.

Michael said last year there were times when rugby matches were canceled because Eastern had too many team members sitting out with injuries.

Apparently there was no reason to believe the numbers would be any better this year, which could have led to some similar issues.

Becky Carlson, a former Eastern player and current Quinnipiac University women’s rugby coach, said the rugby program has been treated unfairly for some time now, saying the athletes have not been treated similarly to athletes of other sports on campus.

Carlson said rugby athletes were only getting scholarships of around $500 compared to the full-tuition scholarships athletes get in sports like football.

Maybe the opportunity to play rugby is something that should be a focus and not how much money they are getting. We could all use a scholarship.

The rugby program was said to have started to appease a Title IX violation at Eastern, which the school is supposedly now in violation of again.

Eastern brings in an “outside consultant” each year to evaluate their sports programs after their seasons have played out. Such persons help go over many different things including Title IX compliance.

Michael said the rugby program is still one being re-evaluated at the end of the year, allowing the possibility of reinstatement.

We understand the Title IX violation, we really do. We understand the law is an important thing for our nation to propel equality in all people. The thing is, we are probably lucky the school is operating as it is today.

The state’s current budget impasse has threatened the futures of several if not all of the state institutions of higher education.

It is unfortunate we find ourselves in a situation where a Title IX violation is being overshadowed by the rest of the student body wondering if it will have a school to come back to whether it is next fall or for a homecoming because we have (hopefully) graduated by then.

It really is a glaring sign of the times. As a school that served as a pioneer for women’s rugby, it would really be cool to have a team to call our own as we have a former Panther, Lauren Doyle, representing the United States in the Rio Olympics.

We hope there is a resolution in the near future satisfying both the needs of the university and rugby athletes.

The daily editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Daily Eastern News.