General School Information:
The University of California Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz) is located in the coastal city of Santa Cruz, California. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the campus is known for its beauty and is regularly ranked among Forbes “most beautiful” campuses in the world. Princeton Review ranked UCSC #2 public University for “making and impact on the world” (which is up from #3 in 2021) as well as #20 in Best Value Public Colleges.. Rugby recruits can come here to really make an impact on and off the pitch! UC Santa Cruz prides itself on being like no other public university in California; it aims to merge the intimacy of a small, liberal arts school with the status and rigor of a major research university. With over 19,000 undergrads, there is a home for everyone with the many clubs and activities available to students. There are 64 undergraduate majors offered and are taught by world-class professors. To learn more about UC Santa Cruz’s degree offerings, click here.
The Men’s rugby team was founded in 1967 and was recognized as the first intercollegiate sport played at UC Santa Cruz. For the last 10 years, the Banana Slugs competed in Division 1AA and was a member of the Pacific Western Rugby Conference (part of ACR). Next season, the Banana Slugs will be joining the D1A California Conference! During the 2020-2022 seasons, they earned a 10-2-1 combined record, finishing 2nd in the Pacific Western Conference for consecutive seasons and ranked number 26 in the D1AA division by Goff Rugby Report. In the Spring 2022 season, they qualified for the USA Rugby Collegiate 7’s Championships in Atlanta, Georgia (ultimately tying for 5th place).
The team trains three nights per week during the competition season and runs four training sessions per week during the pre-season (October). They play between 12-15 matches per year in both 7’s and 15’s. The 15’s conference schedule typically consists of three home and three away matches, with the longest road trips to destinations like Chico State and the University of Nevada Reno. They kick off the winter quarter with a tour to Los Angeles for the UCLA Dennis Storer Classic!
In Fall 2023, After 10 successful years in the Pacific Western Rugby Conference, the Banana Slugs will join the D1A California Conference. This move places UC Santa Cruz alongside teams from the sister UC campuses in Santa Barbara and Davis, as well as Cal Poly, Saint Marys College, Santa Clara University, and San Diego State University, in what is likely to be the most competitive and vibrant college rugby conference in the nation.
The team often recruits talented, experienced players that wish to improve their skill sets, learn new systems, and challenge their mindset. However, they are always open to teaching promising students with no prior experience as well and helping them learn the game and develop into rugby players.
UCSC’s Women’s Rugby Football Club got its start in 1979 with roughly six members, hand-me-down jerseys from the men’s team, and little financial support. Men’s coach Dan Porter oscillated between the two groups, and often the women were left without a coach. Regardless, the women on the team did everything they could to make their season happen. They fundraised for food and transportation and used their own cars for away games.
The years 2006–2013 were the most competitively successful seasons so far in the history of women’s rugby at UCSC. From winning the national title in 2006 to taking silver in the country at Division II Women’s Rugby National Championship in 2007, to making it to the final four in 2010, and the elite eight in 2013, women’s rugby quickly became a powerhouse and one of the most competitively successful sports at UC Santa Cruz. But the teams that were finding newfound success didn’t lose the camaraderie and inclusivity that was tightly woven into the history of the sport at UCSC.
The 2006 women’s team was the first to win the DII Collegiate 15’s National Championship for the UCSC Rugby Football Club. But the 2006 national winning season wouldn’t have been possible without the team’s humble origins, Sit said. In 2004—Sit’s first year—the group found themselves without a coach. Instead, they were taught by their captains; using shoes as cones and a water bottle as a ball. “We had to build from the ground up, and I think there’s something to be said for that,” Sit said.
Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 women’s rugby team found themselves in a rebuilding year that parallels UCSC rugby history. With the support of their coaches, trust in one another, and a hoard of dedicated alumni, the 2022 team put in the work to secure their second-place title. For more about the women's rugby program history click here.
To learn more about UC Santa Cruz’s Rugby programs, check out the following links:
Men's Rugby Website: https://recreation.ucsc.edu/sportclubs/mrugby/
Men's Rugby Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/130515466974152/
Men's Rugby Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ucscmensrugby/?hl=en
Tuition and Fees: Resident: $14,070 Non-Resident: $43,824
Room and Board: $16,641
Undergraduate Enrollment 16,255
Student to Faculty Ratio 25:1
Acceptance Rate 65%
Application Deadline November 30th
Avg. High School GPA 3.51
Avg. SAT Score: Test Blind
Avg. ACT Score: Test Blind
Information edited from the University of California Santa Cruz’s website and Collegedata.com