This past week should have been an active one for HBCU Rugby, but unfortunately, circumstances did not allow it. Both Prairie View A&M Men and Howard University Women were unable to play their scheduled games due to their opponents not having enough players to field teams.
So instead of a recap of what the teams did last weekend, I want to talk a little about the other rugby organization that is focused on building and developing rugby programs at HBCUs. Introduce you to the James G. Robertson and Clive Sullivan Rugby Foundation
The James G. Robertson & Clive Sullivan Rugby Foundation (or RS Rugby Foundation) was founded in 2020. Their mission is to provide Historically Black Colleges and Universities with the resources they need to develop, grow, and flourish in the game of rugby. They want to establish a sustainable HBCU presence in USA Rugby and World Rugby.
Carille Guthrie, a Howard Alumni, led the formulation of the RS Rugby Foundation. The organization’s name was based on two men who led the way for black people in rugby. James G. Robertson was the first recorded black person to ever play rugby. He was born in 1854 in Gambia to a Scottish father and a Gambian mother but moved to Scotland in his youth. Clive Sullivan was the first black person to captain any sport in Great Britain. He played rugby for England and captained Great Britain to victory in the Rugby League World Cup in 1972.
After the impact of COVID and seeing the potential of what HBCU Rugby could do, she wanted to become more active in building programs. Guthrie put together the initial board of directors with an experienced group of rugby leaders with the likes of, Mike Anderson, Tosan Tutse-Tonwe, Taylor White, Steve Johnson, and Joshua Stintson-Jefferson.
One of the first initiatives that the RS Rugby Foundation took on was the development of the Howard University Rugby program. They led the way, alongside Takunda Rusike and Daniel Davillier, in registering the rugby program with Howard University, initially finding funds for the team, and finding the coaches to help start the Howard University rugby program. Howard University Women have gone on to become national championship runner-ups and Howard University Men made the NCR Collegiate Rugby Championships this last season.
The RS Rugby Foundation is continuing to lead the way in starting up and developing more rugby programs at HBCUs. They are currently focused on developing rugby programs at Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, and the University of the District of Colombia. They are always looking for ways to get support and can take donations. They are an official 501c3 program, so donations to them are tax-deductible.
You can support their initiatives at https://www.rsrugbyfoundation.org/ or you can donate to their HBCU Rugby grant fund at https://givebutter.com/supporthbcurugby.
Take a listen to the podcast we did with Carille Guthrie, to hear more about what it took to put the RS Rugby Foundation and her exciting rugby story.
SCHEDULES THIS WEEKEND
Morehouse University Rugby Men will be kicking off their rugby season this week. They will be hosting a pre-season exhibition match this weekend. This year they will be playing in the National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) season schedule for the first time. This is the same collegiate system that Howard University Rugby Men play in as well. By entering into the NCR, Morehouse College will be eligible to participate in post-season games, including playoffs and championship tournaments.
Morehouse Rugby is the oldest HBCU rugby club in the country. It was founded in 2012 and has since continued to develop throughout the years. They are the 2019 HBCU Rugby Classic Champions as well as the 2023 HBCU Rugby Classic runner-ups.
If you are in the Atlanta area and are able to attend the Morehouse College season kickoff on Sunday, definitely check them out and give them some of your support and love.
To learn more about Morehouse College Rugby and its history, check the podcast we did with Morehouse College Rugby alumni and head coach, Seffudin Saffir.