EDITORIAL: For rugby, time to return and redeem

Rugby is now officially recognized by the University, and along with that recognition come several important privileges. Perhaps most importantly, the rugby team may now compete here on campus in Villanova Stadium, which will allow them to draw far better support from the student body than when they were forced to play games off-campus. They may now actively recruit on campus, and they may now use Villanova’s name and logo on their uniforms and merchandise. 

Formalizing the rugby team is an important step, and its leadership deserves credit for putting in so much work to ensure the effort’s success. Moving through Villanova’s bureaucracy to gain approval for an organized activity is not easy, and it is probably even more difficult considering the medical and legal liabilities given rugby’s intensely physical nature.

But there is added responsibility for the rugby team now that they are an officially sanctioned Villanova sport. Even as a club sport, the team and its members are still representatives of Villanova Athletics, and its players and coaches will, not unreasonably, be expected to carry themselves with that in mind, both on and off the field. 

The rugby team will be under particular scrutiny for the next few years. The squad has earned a reputation, rightly or wrongly, as a sort of an underground fraternity.  

The standards of behavior the rugby team has enjoyed up until its official recognition by the University must now come to an end. 

The University will be closely watching those associated with the team and will likely deal swift punishment in case of any sort of scandal. 

In the meantime, congratulations to the rugby players, coaches and alumni who worked so hard to earn the recognition of the University. We hope to see everyone at the team’s first on-campus game tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in the Stadium.