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How do I get a rugby sports scholarship in America?

US college rugby is the fastest growing college sport in America for both men’s rugby and women’s rugby. This is highlighted by the fact that the first ever Major League Rugby (MLR) Collegiate Draft took place in June 2020. The draft represents an important pathway for rugby in America and another positive step for the growing league. College rugby continues to be more popular than ever and this means it is a really attractive option for many talented student-athletes worldwide and will provide more rugby scholarships for these rugby players over time. Naturally this means competition for places can be extremely high, which is why using a recruitment consultancy like U.S Sports Scholarships can give you a real advantage. Rugby scholarships include a variety of offerings from covering tuition fees, to dues or fee waivers, to in-state tuition rates for out-of-state students. To find out more about the the men’s and women’s rugby scholarship process, fill out our form and a U.S Sports Scholarships consultant will be in touch to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can register for one of our UK or Australia Rugby Trials where our expert team will deliver a detailed presentation that will provide you with information on the entire process and how we can help you with securing a rugby scholarship. If this is of interest please complete our free online application now.

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Number of sponsored varsity rugby teams by division

Division Level Number of Schools Max Scholarships per School Average Roster Size
NCAA D1 12 12 56
NCAA D2 10 12 39
NCAA D3 18 N/A 36
Other 10 N/A 34

Watch Our Free Online Rugby Scholarships Seminar

In this informative online rugby seminar our Head of International Men’s Rugby Liam Walker and Managing Director Liam Barrett talk through the process of securing a rugby scholarship in America and how U.S Sports Scholarships can help you find the perfect school for you both academically and athletically.

Download our rugby brochure now for more information about how we can help you secure the best possible scholarship.

Download our rugby brochure now for more information about how we can help you secure the best possible scholarship.

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Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

 Below we have given you the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about securing a rugby scholarship in America.

1. What are US athletic rugby scholarships?

An athletic rugby scholarship is a form of scholarship to attend a U.S college or university awarded to an individual based on their academic and athletic capabilities. A rugby scholarship can cover anywhere between 0-100% of costs and these offers are authorised by the coaches at American colleges/universities. Rugby scholarships are still in their infancy with men’s college rugby still being an emerging sport. However, over time rugby scholarships will become more prevalent in line with its increasing popularity.

2. What determines how much scholarship money I get in the USA?

Your scholarship will depend on many factors including your playing ability and academic standing, as well as your coaches assigned budget for the season. However, don’t worry it is our job to ensure that we find you an American college which best suits your preferences and capabilities. If, for example, a university costs $50,000 a year all in and the coach is giving you a scholarship worth $35,000, then this is a partial scholarship as there is a $15,000 shortfall that the coach wants you to contribute towards the costs of attending the university. Most partial scholarships come with the incentive that if you perform well, both on the field and in the classroom, then the coach can reward you with a scholarship increase and cover any costs that you had been contributing towards.

3. What are the chances of getting rugby scholarships?

Rugby is played across the three NCAA divisions at varying levels. Women’s rugby is an official sport but men’s rugby is an NCAA Division I and II emerging sport and is an equivalency sport which means athletic scholarships can be split into partial awards in any proportion up to the maximum allowed. 32 schools sponsored varsity Rugby teams during the 2020 season but this is expected to grow significantly in the next five years as many colleges transition from having club teams to full varsity teams. There are over 900 college teams—male and female—registered with USA Rugby and are over 32,000 college players registered with USA Rugby, making college rugby the largest section of USA Rugby’s membership. There are currently over 50 schools with sponsored varsity rugby teams and this is constantly increasing.

4. What is USA Rugby?

USA Rugby is the national governing body for the sport of rugby union in the United States. Its role is to serve as “the national governing body charged with achieving and maintaining high levels of quality in all aspects of rugby. USA Rugby was founded in 1975 and today has over 130,000 memberships, the largest segment being college rugby with over 32,000 members. USA Rugby oversees 1,200 high school teams, 900 college teams, 700 senior club teams, and 400 youth teams.

5. What college rugby divisions and conferences are there?

With 100s of college rugby programs and a huge geographical spread there is a need for multiple divisions and conference competitions. As mentioned above, USA Rugby governs the elite competition – Division 1-A, Division 1-AA, Division 2, women’s D1 and D1-Elite. This incorporates most of the rugby playing schools across the country. NCRO (National College Rugby) governs another group of 300+ schools which tend to have a smaller student population but can be just as competitive.

6. How do I find out more about U.S Rugby Scholarships?

To find out more about rugby scholarships and college rugby, fill out our form and a U.S Sports Scholarships consultant will be in touch to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can register for one of our UK Rugby Trials where our expert team will deliver a detailed presentation that will provide you with information on the entire process and how we can help you with securing a rugby scholarship. If this is of interest please complete our free online application now.

7. What level do I need to be playing rugby at for a scholarship?

We have been helping talented young rugby players gain places in rugby teams at American Universities for many years now. In order to get the most opportunities and receive the best scholarship offers, it’s important to keep practicing and to do as well as you possible can in your exams. As mentioned above to increase your chances of securing the best college rugby scholarship possible it is also important that you have strong rugby and academic credentials. Key elements of the process that can impact how successful you are in securing a scholarship include; your academic qualifications, entrance exam scores, playing history and rugby match highlights. When determining rugby scholarships the college rugby coach will look at the athlete and their potential within their university or college.

8. What college rugby programs do you work with?

We work with every college rugby team in America and have placed student athletes at all participating schools. Examples of college rugby teams we placed players at recently are; Lindenwood University, Notre Dame College, Davenport University, Belmont Abbey University and Arkansas State University.

9. How are Student Athletes different to regular students?

As a student athlete at a college you attend classes and graduate as any regular student at the school; however, being a student athlete means you also represent the school in your chosen sport which comes with it additional responsibility in terms of how you conduct yourself, commit to both your sport and studies and financially can mean you are paying significantly less for university than a regular student through the form of athletic scholarship. Student athletes also typically get priority when it comes to picking classes each semester to work around scheduled training and for international students you also normally get first choice on jobs on campus.

10. What are college campuses like in America?

America is undeniably home to some of the best college campuses in the world. Beyond the classrooms they boast the best athletic facilities and college stadiums some of which can hold up to 60,000 people. For more insight into what college campuses are like we highly recommend watching our day in the life videos that can be found on the homepage and on the video gallery page.

11. What does my rugby highlight video need to include?

US collegiate rugby coaches will be looking for a variety of things from your highlight video. Physicality, athleticism, speed and technique and are all key. It is our responsibility to ensure that your highlights showcase your ability in the optimal way. Please see an example rugby video below:

Liam has vast experience at the highest levels of Rugby Union as a player and coach throughout Australia and New Zealand, which makes him the ideal person to head up our international rugby programme.

LIAM WALKER
HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL RUGBY

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Brett Cutbush - US Rugby Scholarships

Born in New Zealand, Brett came to the UK on a sports scholarship at one of the best schools in the country. As well as helping the next generation of athletes find scholarships he also plays at a high level with Colchester RFC.

BRETT CUTBUSH
HEAD OF RUGBY RECRUITMENT

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Liam Barrett - U.S Soccer Scholarships

Our co-founder Liam oversees our rugby programme in collaboration with Liam and Brett. Liam has unrivalled industry experience having successfully placed over 500 athletes at American schools in the past 10 years.

LIAM BARRETT
MANAGING DIRECTOR

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CHARLIE PALMER
LINDENWOOD UNIVERSITY

SAM EVANS
DAVENPORT UNIVERSITY

BEN WATERS
BELMONT ABBEY UNIVERSITY

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U.S SS team members

What level do I need to be playing rugby at for a scholarship?

We have been helping talented young rugby players gain places in rugby teams at American Universities for many years now. In order to get the most opportunities and receive the best scholarship offers, it’s important to keep practicing and to do as well as you possible can in your exams. As mentioned above to increase your chances of securing the best football scholarship possible it is also important that you have strong rugby and academic credentials. Key elements of the process that can impact how successful you are in securing a scholarship include; your academic qualifications, entrance exam scores, playing history and football match highlights. Coaches then look at the athlete and their potential within their university or college.

Why use a recruitment consultancy like U.S Sports Scholarships

U.S Sports Scholarships is like no other service provider in the world in that we only offer 50 places on our recruitment programme each year to ensure that every single player receives the necessary time and personal attention to take them through the complex process of finding a suitable school in America; helping them secure the best possible financial package. To help achieve this, each player is assigned their own designated representative who is with them every step of the way. If you think you have what it takes to play and study in the USA on a rugby scholarship, please complete our free online application now.

U.S Sports Scholarships (U.S SS) was first developed in 2008 with the aim of helping talented male and female athletes with their placement at American colleges and universities. Since then we have successfully secured over $20 million in sports scholarship awards and sent over 700 athletes to the United States. Every year we receive over 10,000 applications from athletes throughout the world so to be offered a place ion our programme you need to be a high level student-athlete.

U.S Sports Scholarships now operates across the world, with Development Squads located in Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Ireland and Dubai. Our success and organic growth is a direct result of our unrivalled player service – providing the personalised expert support and aftercare we ourselves would have wanted when we went through the process of finding a sports scholarship in America.

At U.S Sports Scholarships uses we use our vast network of contacts within the U.S Collegiate system to find the right college to suit your athletic and academic capabilities. We will help guide you through every stage of the soccer scholarship process giving you the best possible opportunity of playing in the USA.

Find out if you are eligible for a sports scholarship now

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