Posted: November 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm

By Sean Cahill, Allison Lee, and Alexis Taylor

Joe DesNoyer decided to attend West Virginia University not for its academics or its party school reputation; he came to join the WVU Men’s Rugby Team, a club sport.

“There aren’t really rugby varsity teams in the NCAA because it is so violent,” the sophomore said. “I came here to play rugby. If somewhere else offered it, I would probably transfer.”

Just because you attend a Division I university doesn’t mean you have to be a Division 1-caliber athlete to play sports. There are plenty of ways to continue playing, or even pick up a new sport, in college.

“Most people want to learn a new activity or may not be skilled enough (to play varsity), but this provides them an avenue to still be involved,” said Bruce Brubaker, head of intramural and club sports at WVU.

“Maybe we don’t have a varsity team for a certain activity. For example the equestrian team, roller derby and ice hockey club sports all started out of necessity.”

Cameron Price, of the WVU boxing club, is seen warming up with other team mates.

Zack Eckman has been involved with the West Virginia University Ice Hockey Team for six years.

“We absolutely treat hockey like a varsity sport,” Eckman said. “The only difference is our guys pay $3,000 a year to play.”

Eckman played hockey at WVU for four years. After entering graduate school he became the assistant coach. This season is his first as head coach.

“There’s nothing like playing, but I really enjoy going back out and coaching and teaching them what I learned,” Eckman said. “Coaching is the next best thing. It’s just as fun. Whenever you win you’re still a part of the team.”

Club and intramural athletes are just as competitive as varsity, Brubaker said.

“They proudly wear the flying WV around campus,” Brubaker said.

Desnoyer even “recruits” friends to come to WVU and play. He successfully landed a high school teammate this fall.

Brubaker has been the intramural director for 26 years. About 10 years ago he began overseeing club sports as well. He says he enjoys every minute of it.

“We have had a lot of teams qualify and participate in the national level,” Brubaker said. “We have won five national competitions over the last four years, for example, competitive cheer and dance.”

Boxing coach Brandon Lial trains team members in the ring.

Lauren Daub, a junior, is the vice president of the WVU Archery Team.

“I didn’t know anyone when I came here, so I just wanted to join something with people with a similar interest,” Daub said. “I thought it’d be a good starting place.”

Whatever sport you may have played in high school, there is a good chance WVU has it. Joining a club sport provides many opportunities, and a chance to meet fellow students. If you are interested in joining or starting a club sport or intramurals, check out the website here.