Big 10 Women Move to National Collegiate Rugby

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WILMINGTON, DE  – The Big 10 Rugby Conference will become National Collegiate Rugby’s (NCR) newest Division I women’s conference. The Big 10 Women include:

  • Michigan State University, Head Coach Zachary Hendrix
  • Notre Dame University, Head Coach Ricardo Rameriz
  • The Ohio State University, Head Coach Megan Znidarsic
  • University of Michigan, Head Coach Jamie Frech
  • University of Iowa, Head Coach Kathleen O’Neill
  • University of Indiana, Head Coach Vaughn Mitchell

Jim Estes will continue in his role as the Big 10 Commissioner. Commenting on the conference’s decision, Estes said “We chose to join NCR because of the dynamic member programs, scale of its women’s competition, and its operational staff. We believe this decision will usher in a new era of competitive and cultural excellence for Big 10 Women’s Rugby.”

This further strengthens the largest Division I competition in the country with 90 teams. The NCR Division I competition includes teams such as the University of Northern Iowa, Marquette University, Clemson University, Colgate University and other well-known schools.

In total, the NCR women’s competition includes 190 teams and has seen significant growth over the past three years as NCR has made investments to strengthen marketing, expand its championship pathways and all-star programming, and grow its staffing structure.

Angela Smarto, NCR Women’s Director, said: “The Big 10 will be a great addition to the NCR competitive landscape as their conference play is one of the strongest in the country. The Big 10 coaches have worked hard for a long time to create an internally competitive environment. I want to give them a platform to bring their conference to the next level.”

It’s expected that multiple Big 10 schools will contend for a national 7s title at the Collegiate Rugby Championship in New Orleans. Iowa, Notre Dame and Michigan have built strong resumes this Spring and are likely qualifiers. The schools will be announced during the Selection Saturday show on April 30.

About National Collegiate Rugby (NCR)

National Collegiate Rugby is the largest collegiate rugby organization with over 600 men’s and women’s teams. Evolving from the National Small College Rugby Organization, which was founded in 2007, NCR now serves small colleges, Division II and Division I programs. NCR’s sole focus is the growth and development of college rugby through a range of competitions, championship pathways, member services and governance. For more information, visit

About the Big 10 Rugby Conference 

The Big 10 Rugby Conference is a National Collegiate Rugby Division I conference. The Big 10 includes six schools across the Midwest: Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), Notre Dame University (South Bend, IN) The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA) University of Indiana (Bloomington, IN).

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About Matt McCarthy 754 Articles
Matt McCarthy comes to from their partner in the USA, RWU and MTM feature a stable of diverse contributors, with coverage that is both serious and with a wink. Find him on twitter: @Matt_McCarthy00