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NCAA Varsity Lindenwood Joins DI NIRA for Fall 2024

  • 03 Jun 2024
Lindenwood rugby

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – On Monday, June 3, Lindenwood University Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Jason Coomer announced the elevation of Women’s Rugby as an emerging sport to varsity status as a NCAA Division I sport. Women’s rugby becomes the 22nd Division I sport currently offered at Lindenwood. [lead photo c/o Todd Lunow]

“Today is an exciting day for our Women’s Rugby program,” said Coomer. “This group of young women along with those student-athletes who set the course for the program to get to where it is today, have been viewed nationally and internationally as a blueblood of the sport. Lindenwood University is looking forward to doing our part to continue to grow the game with a goal of emerging to an NCAA championship sport.”

Lindenwood will join the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) as its 29th member during the Fall of 2024. The NIRA brings together institutions of higher education that compete at the highest levels of intercollegiate women’s rugby in the United States. The Association seeks, to organize, manage, and promote the sport of intercollegiate women’s rugby, and to annually hold a postseason intercollegiate national women’s rugby championship called the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) National Championship.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Jason Coomer and his staff during this very deliberative process and their determination to sponsor Women’s Rugby as Lindenwood University’s newest NCAA sport for women is momentous,” said NIRA Commissioner Amy Rusert. “Lindenwood Women’s Rugby has been a standard-bearer in the game and will be a tremendous addition to our Association and the campaign towards becoming an NCAA Championship sport.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Lindenwood University to our growing NIRA varsity women’s ruby community,” said Tim Ryan, Ashmead White Director of Athletics at Bowdoin College and Chair of the NIRA Executive Committee. “The future of NIRA rugby is bright and we look forward to partnering with Lindenwood as their program transitions to membership in the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association.”

Trevor Locke will continue to serve as the women’s rugby head coach in its transition to a varsity sport. Locke has led the Lions at the junior varsity level for the past two seasons as head coach and has been part of the Lindenwood staff since 2020.

“We are honored to be a part of the transition of Lindenwood Women’s Rugby into a NCAA Division I emerging sport,” said head coach Locke. “We are grateful for the governing bodies and divisions that have driven us over the past 10 years at Lindenwood. This new chapter at Lindenwood will aid in the growth of women’s sports. I want to thank every athlete, coach, athletic trainer, and administrator for their dedication and work put into this program to make it what it is today.”

Last season, Locke led the women’s rugby program to a 13-5 record including victories over Dartmouth, BYU and Penn State. The Lions made it to the D1 Elite Championship game last season under Locke.

“I would like to thank Commissioner Rusert and all of the NIRA member institutions for the opportunity to join such a prestigious group,” said Coomer. The opportunity to join NIRA and work alongside those institutions who have demonstrated a commitment to the sport of women’s rugby was important to our program and university when making this decision to elevate to NCAA Emerging Sport status.”

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