A Short History of Women's Rugby at MIT
Records indicate that rugby has been played at MIT since 1882. The men's club has been in continuous existence since 1949, making it the oldest in the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) and one of the oldest in the United States.
The MIT Women's Rugby Football Club was formed in the spring of 1977 and included several players from Wellesley College. At this time the only competition were the local clubs such as Portland and Beantown, and just a few other collegiate teams. The Wellesley players split off to form their own club in 1988. Since then the MIT club has continued to grow in strength, with a current roster of approximately thirty players.
Historically, the MIT team have continued to maintain a close relationship with the Wellesley team. In past seasons this has led to a somewhat frenzied rivalry, with one year MIT players raiding the Wellesley campus and hanging up a bedsheet painted to depict an MIT rugger squashing a Wellesley player. The Wellesley match is still regarded the highlight of the season. A major triumph for MIT occurred in the spring season of 1995 when they defeated the Wellesley team for the first time in six years. The MIT team has had some very succussful seasons in NERFU's Collegiate Division II over the past few years, incurring no losses last year.
In 1997, the team began a tradition of going on tour during Spring Break. It began with a short tour of California (San Francisco and Santa Cruz) in 1997, and was followed up the next year with a week-long tour in France (Paris and Bordeaux).
Compiled by Karen Willcox and Katie Shiels, March 1997
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Cambridge, MA
Updated January 2010