Women's Rugby Earns Varsity Status

UPDATED: August 18, 2012, at 2:15 a.m.

After 30 years as a club sport, the women's rugby team achieved varsity status on Thursday, according to an announcement by the Department of Athletics.

The club, which has won two national titles since its inception in 1982, becomes Harvard's NCAA-leading 42nd Division I varsity sport. It is also Harvard's 21st women's varsity team, drawing even with the men's varsity side.

Competition as a varsity sport will not begin until the 2013-14 academic year.

Women's rugby is designated as an emerging sport by the NCAA, which encourages growth on all levels.

Women’s rugby sevens will be played in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, marking the Olympic debut of any type of women’s rugby. Men will also play rugby sevens, the first time they have played any type of rugby in the Olympics since 1924.

—Staff writer Alexander Koenig can be reached at

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:


An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Harvard women's rugby team had won two national club titles. In fact, the team has won two USA Rugby Collegiate Championships, which are not solely confined to club teams.