Rugby Canada recently released plans to develop a Rugby Canada Foundation.
Essentially, the members of the 2007 RWC team decided to give back to the rugby community by helping to establish what amounts to scholarships for young Canadian rugby athletes, or as the story states:
"Qualified recipients, who show promise for improving Canadian Rugby both in Canada and around the world and by administering resources for donors."
Quick side note: I would like to big-up the much maligned Aaron Abrams (not to be confused with this guy) whose game many don't respect. But it must be noted that his work off the field, including helping out with this project, should be recognized by all who love the game in Canada.
Basic criteria for the scholarships:
- Open to both male and female applicants
- Be a high performance athlete
- Selected to a Canadian national team at some point during their young careers
- Must be enrolled in their first year of post-secondary education
- Have a strong academic record in their program of study
While it is a good idea, and CUR Online applauds it, the fact remains that as long as rugby continues to be a non-nationally sanctioned university men's sport, only a handful of athletes in this country will receive some financial benefit from the game.
Consider this: thousands of scholarships are awarded every year by the NCAA for the big money making sports like basketball and football, but there are also numerous full-rides handed out for niche sports, like swimming, field hockey and lacrosse. In Canada, a new push has been made to give young Canadian athletes some financial aid, BUT ONLY in CIS sports.
If you are a good high school rugby player, but you've never been selected to a national team, (and kids who have never been selected to national teams have access to CIS athletic scholarships all the time in other less economically popular sports, namely volleyball, golf and wrestling) then you're stuck on the outside looking in.
While risking the chance of being labelled traitorous, CUR Online suggests that young rugby players could try looking south of the border for help.
Here are a few suggestions:
Arkansas State University
Texas A&M University
Penn State University
Idaho State University
University of New Mexico
Palmer Chiropractic College
Truman State University
Stony Brook University
If going to the States for post-secondary education is not something a high school rugby athlete might consider, there are ultimately other ways to "get paid":
Like appearing here. (Helpful tip: he doesn't like shaking hands!)
Or maybe you could turn out like this kid?