Alfred University News

Alfred University to field new varsity women’s rugby squad

Alfred University announced plans to field a women’s rugby team to begin competition in the 2023-24 season. The team will join the University’s existing 22 athletic programs including 17 NCAA Division III sports.

Alfred University continues its mission to provide students with important opportunities to participate in athletics at the varsity, club and intramural levels. Interested parties can learn more and request details.

"We are thrilled to offer varsity women’s rugby within our intercollegiate athletics department, which complements our men’s rugby club program," said Mark A. Zupan, president of Alfred University. "As a proud member of NCAA Division III, we know that our student-athletes are some of the highest academically performing students on our campus, while also serving as outstanding ambassadors in the community. Expecting many more student-athletes on campus, rugby will contribute to our enrollment goals and add to the vibrancy of the campus experience for our students and alumni as we cheer on the Saxons."

450 student-athletes currently comprise the club and varsity sports rosters at Alfred University. For full athletics information, please visit

"It has been an exciting time for us to plan the development of a women’s rugby program," said Paul Vecchio, Assistant Vice President for Athletics, who oversees all varsity and club sports. “We also plan to bring other programs online soon, which will likely include archery, disc golf, bowling, spirit/dance teams, and e-sports."

Men’s and women’s rugby is a growing sport in the Western New York region. To start, the Saxons will compete with peer institutions in the northeast region. This announcement represents the first new program added at Alfred since starting cheerleading in 2018.

"To echo what others have said, this really is about opportunity," Zupan said. "Alfred University’s mission is grounded in providing special opportunities to students in all forms. Adding women’s rugby alongside our strong men’s club rugby program will serve a diverse population of student-athletes to continue to compete in the sports they love while pursuing their education. I could not be more excited with the growth and energy among our department, coaching staff, and student-athletes.”

A national search is underway for the first women’s rugby coach.

More than 2,500 rugby union clubs exist around the country, including those that are part of college rugby. It is estimated that by 2026, 40 percent of the total number of rugby players will be female with nearly 90 million players worldwide (source: USA Rugby).