The University of Utah rugby program was suspended for the rest of this season, and the Dixie State University rugby team is finding ways around losing one of the toughest teams in its conference.
According to the April 4, 2013, Salt Lake Tribune article, “Utah rugby: Future of club team remains uncertain,” by Martin Renzhofer, The U of U rugby club was suspended due to using the official school name as a title after being told not to.
Rugby was first suspended after a mishap last fall. It involved a school-sanctioned van and violated an unspecified rule when returning from playoffs last May.
Following that action, the Rugby Magazine reported the team registered at the USA Rugby competition as the Salt Lake City Rugby Club, but the club later represented the University of Utah rugby club in the Rugby 7s season.
The Rugby Mag reported the team continued to compete unofficially with the U of U name, which wasn’t exactly what administrators were meaning by the disciplinary actions. The team competed as University of Utah Rugby team in January and was suspended once administrators found out. If the team was aware of the situation and followed instructions, the team would have been able to play in the fall.
Brentt Phillips, a sophomore general education major from Salt Lake City, said this suspension doesn’t hurt the DSU rugby team in any way, although the team loses the Utah rugby threat.
“We were surprised for the most part,” Phillips said. “Part of us were happy and the other part was a little bummed.”
Denzel Daniels, a freshman social science major from Las Vegas, said it’s tough to see the team’s hard work go to waste.
“They were something I would say is the definition of a team,” Daniels said. “They played as one, they had each other’s backs on and off the field, and they won and lost as a team. Everyone has to serve their time for what they did wrong, but I pray and hope they don’t let that break them up as a team.”
The DSU team is only worried about losing competition.
“In the rugby community we all support each other, even if we’re teammates or opponents,” Phillips said. “We’re really worried about losing competition, and playing Utah is really big for us because we’re a new and upcoming rugby program.”
Phillips said the team has mixed feelings about the suspension.
“(We were happy) because it was an easier road for us to make it to the top,” Phillips said. “But then we were bummed because we don’t want to take the easy road to the top.”
Daniels said you have to fail as a team to become a better team. You learn from your mistakes and leave them in the past.
“It’s not about the past,” Daniels said. “It’s about making yourself better and prepared for the present and the future. My heart and prayers go out to that team, no matter how much I hate their guts when we play them, because at the end of the day they are my brothers in [heaven].”
Phillips said the Utah program was easily the best competition for Dixie.
The team hasn’t heard any details about the situation other than what the news had displayed. It hasn’t had any news about Utah transfer players, and there will be an announcement of a new team added to the conference this summer.
Phillips said the team’s biggest threat, now that Utah is out of the picture, is Brigham Young University.
“BYU is definitely our biggest competition,” Phillips said. “To beat them would be great for us.”
The team is starting training next month for its summer season and the beginning of its season at the Midnight Sevens tournament in Las Vegas.
“At the end of the day it’s not about rugby or winning or losing,” Daniels said. “It’s about still being a family and keeping that brotherhood promise [we’ve] committed to in the beginning, before winning was involved.”