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Nadia Bonner-Burton Signs as CBU's First Rugby Player

MEMPHIS — Brian Summers, athletics director at Christian Brothers University (CBU), has announced the addition of Nadia Bonner-Burton to the CBU women's rugby team.

"I am pleased to welcome Nadia as CBU's first official women's rugby athlete commitment," said Summers. "She is a talented young woman who will help us initiate the future culture of our rugby program."

Bonner-Burton graduated magna cum laude with a 3.7 GPA this past spring from Freedom Prep Academy. She is a member of the National Honor Society and was one of the founding students of the academy. She intends to major in business at CBU.

On the rugby pitch, Bonner-Burton played flanker and lock. She was a member of Freedom Prep's two-time state championship teams, was twice named to Memphis Inner City Rugby's all-star teams (2018, 2019), was a member of the Tennessee Tri-Stars in 2018 and 2019, and also played basketball at Freedom Prep.

CBU rugby will become the first competitive club sports offered by the University. While not sanctioned by the NCAA, the programs will receive a full-time head coach and offer competitive scholarship packages for prospective students. The head coach will be hired during the summer, and the teams will focus on playing a rugby sevens schedule in its initial season.

"CBU rugby was made possible through the generous donations of alumni and friends in the Memphis rugby community," said Summers. "We have been eyeing adding the sports, but it required philanthropic support to get them off the ground. I'm very grateful to the contributors who helped make this a reality."

Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports at the collegiate level in the U.S. It also enjoys a robust niche among boys and girls in Memphis high schools. Numerous public and private high schools throughout Memphis offer the sport, and several have claimed state and regional championships.

Overall, rugby in the U.S. is not governed by the NCAA. It is, however, governed by USA Rugby and its representative, geographical unions and local area unions. Under USA Rugby, a college management committee and collegiate director exist to oversee college rugby.

CBU intends to develop a roster of 10-15 players in each gender for year one, with long-term growth targeting 25 players on each team.

Donors who contributed to start the CBU rugby program include Samuel R. Barnett, Chris Claude, Michael J. Deutsch, Henry Deutsch, Memphis Inner City Rugby, Paul J. Posey, Resource Entertainment Group, David L. Schenkel, Joseph T. Tobin, Triumph Bank, United Capital Financial Advisers, and several anonymous donors.

Posted by Cory Dugan at 10:07 AM