An official rugby club at Ryerson has been a long time coming and members are hoping the team can finally see it through.
Darrin Rankine, 4th-year Urban & Regional Planning student, joined the club during his first year at Ryerson after seeing posters around campus and eventually finding a Facebook page run by former-student, Nyo Mudzingwa.
“Nyo really paved the way for Rugby on campus, without him there probably wouldn’t be a group right now,” said Rankine.
Mudzingwa and other club members have recently graduated, leaving Rankine and other executives to continue the work.
4th year English student, Jordan Oliva is one of three new executives. When Olivia first discovered the club in 2014 it was a small group on Facebook of roughly 40 students, but has since grown to more than 180 members, with regular practices and five on five touch matches each week.
Their next goal is receiving official club status from Ryerson Athletics.
“We are still a small club with little exposure and limited resources, for now” said Oliva.
Obtaining club status means the rugby club will be promoted on Ryerson Athletics web site and will have use of facility spaces.
Space has been a main issue for the club this year when as their usual spot, the quad outside Kerr Hall, has been blocked off during many practise days.
“Some guys who were working on the field in September told us that it was fenced off for a year…the field has not been fenced for a pretty long time, so we’re going to take advantage of that and we do have alternative open spaces around Allan Gardens,” said Rankine.
The club’s application for official status is currently under review. According to Intramurals and Clubs Coordinator,Randy Pipher, they still have some issues with facility use and where the club will be able to play.
“We try our best to work all our clubs, programs, instructional sessions into the spaces we have but it is becoming more and more difficult to find suitable space,” Pipher said.
However, Pipher is hopeful that he will be able to help get the club officiated soon and is looking into gym space for their winter season.
But even with official status, the club will not receive any funding from Ryerson Athletics, meaning all of their expenses will need to be covered by grants, fundraising, or by charging membership fees.
Many long-standing clubs run on this model. The master swim club practises three times a week and charges students a $140 membership fee to cover the cost of instructors, gear and team uniforms.
According to Rankine, the rugby club is not considering implementing membership fees, and right now are more focused on running regular practises.
“We don’t require coaching and we’re low maintenance. The only actual gear needed would be a ball. We wouldn’t want students to feel obligated to fork up large sums of money if we weren’t able to deliver on a consistent program.
“We hope we can continue to expand our reach on campus, so that incoming and current students can see that there is a rugby club at Ryerson and keep their passion for the game alive,” Rankine said.