St. Thomas Rugby Club is officially affiliated with university

Formally known as the Blue Ox Rugby Football Club, the team had an unfortunate end to its successful season last year. The squad qualified for the national championship game but could not compete without St. Thomas sponsorship, which was lost because of off-the-field conduct in 1995.

The Blue Ox Rugby Football club two years ago at the Macalester Cup. (Jordan Osterman/TommieMedia)
The Blue Ox Rugby Football club two years ago at the Macalester Cup. (Jordan Osterman/TommieMedia)

“Our team goal from that point on was to get school sponsorship,” sophomore team captain Scott Bieloh said.

Several players tried to arrange meetings with the administration officials, who said they would consider reinstatement. After continuous lobbying by the players, the university agreed to sponsor the team and give it club status.

“The time is right,” Campus Life Director Margaret Cahill said. “We have no reason to believe they won’t be as successful as our other clubs.”

The team captains had a meeting with school officials last week. The discussion focused on how to be on good terms with both the school and other clubs, as well as following the expectations the school has for them.

“They have been given a great opportunity and with that comes great responsibility,” Cahill said. “I think they’re up for it.”

Junior Solomon Anderson said the team wants to exceed the school’s expectations.

“We want to go above and beyond those expectations,” he said. “We want to hold ourselves not only to the standards St. Thomas wants but a higher standard to show the type of people we are.”

The news spread quickly. Sophomore Alex Goering said he found out through mass text messages and Facebook statuses that the team had been granted school sponsorship.

While the team is excited to have reached this goal, its players plan to take this new affiliation seriously.

“We owe it to the guys from the Blue Ox team for their hard work over the past five years who really wanted this,” sophomore Anthony Aiello said.

In addition to having impeccable standards, the team is big on fundraising and community service. It plans on hosting a rugby clinic at St. Mark’s this fall and volunteering around the Twin Cities. Every St. Thomas club has to complete a certain amount of community service hours, but Anderson believes his teammates would volunteer regardless.

“A lot of our players would do this without the requirement,” he said.

Last year, the team played its games in Eagan and practiced at Marion Park near campus. Now, the team can reserve practice time in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Center.

“Using the campus facilities will be really nice, especially for our winter season development,” Goering said.

Now that the affiliation drama is over, Bieloh is ready to play and reach the goal that slipped through his fingers last year.

“Our goal for the season is to go to Nationals since we’re allowed to now,” he said.

Another team goal is to expand the sport’s popularity on campus.

“We want to bring rugby to a bigger audience,” Anderson said. “Having a club status will hopefully do just that.”

Hayley Schnell can be reached at

9 Replies to “St. Thomas Rugby Club is officially affiliated with university”

  1. It is about time.

    Congrats to the Rugby team! 

    Funny, Ms. Cahill was singing a different tune in a TM article posted about a year ago:

    When asked about reinstating the team, she responded:
    “I understand that they’re frustrated … and we wish them the best,” Cahill said. “But you know, a second chance was already given, and it was worse and wasn’t that long ago.”

    “It is extremely unfortunate and it’s really hard to have to share that decision with students, because I know that it’s the action of previous students that are affecting the actions going forward,” Cahill said. “But the actions were serious and [the university is] not going back on it.”
    Well, thankfully they did go back on it. I’m glad they’ve finally given some honest thought to the situation and forgiven the behavior that occurred long before any of these players even thought about attending St. Thomas.

    Moral of the story? Forgiveness. But isn’t that what we were taught as Freshmen in Theo 101 at our Catholic university?

    See article:

  2. Well, I’m sure that Ms. Cahill wasn’t the only deciding factor on whether or not we were to have a rugby team on campus. There were people within the university who simply did not want a rugby team on campus. On the other hand, there were people who went against the majority in supporting the sport and vouching not only for the incredible people involved with the Blue Ox RFC, but the current students who have been, are, and will be involved with the University of St. Thomas RFC. 

    Rather than holding bitter feelings about the past, I think we should move forward amicably in building a stronger bond between the university, the club, it’s athletes, and the student body as a whole. 

  3. Really, 1995? That team’s CHILDREN might show up at UST in a couple of years. Considering that Notre Dame—with an international reputation to protect—has booted their rugby club t least four times (and re-instated them, under specific conditions), I would think that UST could have been a bit quicker about all of this. Nonetheless, good to see the opportunity for a UST rugby club to go for a national title. [By the way, a lot of Division 1 college football programs have much worse behavior than anything UST rugby players did.]

  4. Let’s put a Rugby Field behind BEC. It’s a real wasted space (for a land locked university) and would work well.

  5. Is there a place to buy UST Rugby gear online? Or, to make a donation that directly supports the rugby club?

  6. To the St. Thomas RFC,
    As one of your earliest rugby alumni, I had the pleasure to play rugby on campus. I want to congratulate all of the young men who worked so hard to win recognition by the University. I also want to thank Ms. Cahill for supporting your return on campus. I wish you all the success and recognition we enjoyed on the pitch and on campus. If you would permit me one favor, please beat St. John’s. I’ll look for for your Fall, 2012 schedule and attempt to travel from San Diego for the game (home or away). I’ll drag a few Tommie rugby alumni along with a bunch of Johnnie rugby alumi who are my friends today. Paul Ramaker class of ’78, St. Thomas RFC ’75-’78.

  7. Rugby field behind BEC is a great idea. It’s been suggested a frizbee course or beach volley ball courts behind BEC, but a rugby field would work too (at least for earlier practices).

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