10 New Rules for Wharton Rugby

A Wharton Rugby Football Club alumnus finds fault with today’s breed of Wharthogs. In fact, many faults. Alumni advisory: Sense of humor may be required.


The Wharton Rugby Football Club then ...

The championship Wharton Rugby Football Club then in 1989 …
Front Row: Tim Nelson, Stephen Healy, Bobby Maggiacomo, John Murray, Glenn Gurtcheff, Andrew Fischer (captain), Mamoun “Moon” Askari; Second Row: Grant Harshbarger, Michael Baum, Jonathan Stoner, Billy Jhung, Steve Pepper, Bill Best, Billy Seibold, Michael Van Vleck; Third Row: John McAdam, Robbie Jeffries, James Birle, Dan Morris, Rocco Laterzo, Martin Denney, David Williams, Bruce Robertson, Bruce McLean, Gary Turner (coach); Back Row: Larry Trumbore, Randy Burkert, JP Finnel, Dermott Ryan, Steve Carter, Peter Morin; other rugby teammates from the 1989 and 1990 MBA teams, remembered but not pictured or forgotten, include: Mike Ciuchta, Peter Doherty, Steve Downing, Andrew Harrison, Matt Johnson, John “Jack” Lamberton, Pat LeVecchia, Kevin Lynch, Neil Price, Andy Sankin, Jamie Seppala, Mark Stone, John Varick, Bob Wilson, and John Zanieski.


If extreme expressions of masculinity offend you, then I respectfully request that you stop reading now and move on. Still with me? Great.

I’ve played a dozen competitive sports in my life, but rugby is by far my favorite. You get to tackle as many players as you can, at full sprint, and not get in trouble. Tackling a man relaxes me. In fact, I haven’t relaxed that well since my playing days ended. Ah, the process of tackling: first you set your pace, find your opponent’s angle, catch the look in your opponent’s eyes right before impact—shoulder to belt buckle, head up—then pump your legs as you drive him to the ground. Damn, I miss rugby.

It has come to my attention that the purity of rugby may have begun to shift at the Wharton Rugby Football Club (aka, the Wharthogs). Therefore, as the unauthorized, unofficial and at times out-of-control alumni rugger spokesman for the 1989 and 1990 Wharton Rugby Football Club teams, I hereby declare 10 new rules for new ruggers.

So listen up, current Wharton MBA ruggers:

1. Include Fat Guys on Your Team.

We don’t take ourselves all that seriously, we move piles of men and we’re more fun at the after-party. If you don’t know any fat guys, please contact your local Wharton rugby alumni, and we will provide some for you.

2. Minimize Six-Pack-Ab Selfies.

We alumni ruggers are thicker around the middle now than we’d prefer. This might happen to you some day. If you must take six-pack-ab selfies, at least don’t show them to Wharthog alumni. Please stop. This behavior embarrasses us.

3. Control Your Membership.

You can’t have 15 players on your rugby pitch, with seven substitutes and hundreds of active members in the Wharton Rugby Football Club. Some of our past Hogs teams did not even have enough players to field two teams adequately. In fact, some of us had to play A & B side games back to back due to insufficient membership. We occasionally had nothing to drink but beer. I remember begging for water and my mates kept laughing (as they should). Have we become a social networking club? We know that Wharton teaches vigorous, advanced quantitative methods because we went through it. However, these membership metrics don’t reconcile.

4. Beat the Harvard MBA Rugby Football Club.

This rule is non-negotiable. Listen to the voice of experience here. The key is to ensure that the Harvard MBAs have hangovers, while the Wharton MBAs are adequately rested and well hydrated. This strategy only works once every three years. We know because we’ve tried.

5. Shake Hands Occasionally.

Please stop hugging each other so much, unless you must. Rugby is by definition a gentleman-barbarian’s game.

6. Have a Throwback Uniform Game to Honor Your Wharton MBA Rugby Alumni.

In our day we had one purple-and-gold rugby shirt, one pair of shorts and one pair of socks, all of which we washed monthly. (We odoriferously intimidated our opponents and scored tries as they retreated with olfactory offense. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no cologne in rugby. During rugby season, you may apply cologne only after your monthly shower.) Modern-day Wharthogs look like a European Football League team, in state-of-the-art athletic gear (see below). OK, we get that. However, you are not auditioning for male-model jobs at GQ; you are playing rugby. Moreover, you may not take off your shirts after scoring the winning try, due to new rule #2 (unless you beat Harvard—then no rules apply).

The Wharton Rugby Football Club now

… and the Wharton Rugby Football Club now

7. Maintain Your Sense of Humor.

A Wharton rugby player is trapped in a room with a tiger, a rattlesnake and a Harvard MBA rugby player. He has a gun with two bullets. What does he do? He shoots the Harvard MBA rugby player—twice.

8. Win! Or at Least Don’t Reconcile.

In the unlikely event that the Wharton Rugby Football Club is defeated, platitudes would only make the situation worse. Do not try to reconcile an improbable defeat like it’s a financial statement.

9. Stay Tough.

Play under any conditions. Remember: They named the sport “rugby” because the name “assault and battery” was already taken. The violence of rugby scares NFL players. (Anecdotally, if you choose to imbibe at the after-party but your teammates take one look at you and demand that you go to the emergency room, note that you will not receive any anesthetics. Instead, request a towel for your mouth, as I did.)

In addition, remember:

Be strong for your teammates when you feel weak

Be brave for the man next to you when you get scared.

Play for each other and collectively you will play better than any of you can ever play individually.

Be humble in victory to honor the tradition of the game.

10. Uphold the Brotherhood

You are maintaining the brotherhood better than we ever did. Heck, we can’t even remember some of each other’s names without help from multiple teammates. This also might happen to you. We are proud of you and happy for you. Remember, if you ever find a Wharton MBA rugby player or supporter in need, help him or her. The most important rule is to have fun. Enjoy rugby. Go to the after-party even if you really should go to the emergency room. Continue to sing the most disgusting songs you will ever hear in your lifetime—in a controlled environment. You will never again experience what you do on a rugby pitch at Wharton—at least not without it resulting in handcuffs.


Editor’s note: In the interest of being fair and balanced, we’ve included the following video from the current iteration of the Wharton Rugby Football Club to allow recent players to speak for themselves—though, of course, we welcome all current players to send their thank-yous and well-wishes for John McAdam directly to us or post them below in the comments section.


  • John J. McAdam

    Mates, Alums, Current Players, etc.: While I love hearing from each of you directly, please share your comments here as well. Wharton Magazine Editor Matt Brodsky has loosened up the login to help see our gentlemanly banter, stories, and fond memories for a possible print article on Wharton Rugby life. We are particularly looking for stories from the 70s, 80s, 2000s. We seem to have the 90s and current covered:) Have fun and please share…

  • HairTie

    Love the post John! If it weren’t for rule #1 I might never have become a Hog… which would be tragic in so many ways. My regurgitation skills would be woefully underdeveloped. I’d never have set foot in Argentina or South Africa. My hip joints and vertebrae would function normally. And, I’d have to spend time cultivating new friendships rather than relying upon the unbreakable bonds of HogHood. Highest ROI ever!

    Rule #10 is alive and well also. I’ve been inundated with support from hogs whenever I’ve asked for help in career transitions or fundraising as a charitable athlete.

    Hogs 4 Life,

  • Chris Jagger

    Top drawer. It goes without saying that what goes on tour shall forever stay on tour (partly due to PCS), but the early 2000s were replete with heroics: hogs vs smurfs, prop vs bull, sin vs con, diamond vs dance, bare “feet” vs Square pavement… The list goes on. And who can forget the line out calls (actually, most of us, during the games normally… But why the heck would a cow drink tea, and from a Hedge??? ).
    For the current roster, remember a keg is always better than a six pack, and forwards win matches (backs only matter by how much).
    Hope to see a few down in NZ for the Lions next year, until then go the ABs!
    Ruck over.

  • Kathryn

    Enjoyed the post and must add that the Women’s Touch Rugby team was my favorite experience at Wharton. Pic below is the 2012 team, which won the Duke tournament.

  • John J. McAdam

    Kathryn: OMG, we have women’s rugby now at Wharton? My British mates would die. I love it! You guys look like your having more fun than the boys…
    Thank you for not showing me your 6-pack-ab selfies. I am being punished with them from current players and alumni as I should be. I’m a retired prop; I can take it (I think). After I recover from this information, may I interview you for a possible print article for Wharton Alumni Magazine? john at pioneer business ventures dot com.
    Awesome photo,
    John, WG90

  • Kathryn

    Sure! Just sent you an email. Best, Kathryn

Wharton Magazine - Background

Type to Search

See all results