A key initiative of our strategy, the Sport Review is developing and implementing an enhanced inter-university competition programme for all student athletes, at all levels. 

Placing student's needs and motivations at the heart of the process, the Sport Review is ultimately striving towards providing a world-class competition programme. 

We have worked in partnership with Sport Advisory Groups (SAGs) and National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs), alongside consultation with member institutions, to review and develop new competition offers.

The Sport Review is led by an Implementation Group, made up of BUCS and member institution representatives.

Key Stages

Sport Review: The BUCS Sports Review Cycle has been created to support sports to evaluate their student offer and to propose changes that will improve the experience for students.

The Review is an annual process. For information about the stages of the process click here.

Moving to the implementation stage involves sports working with the BUCS Executive to confirm the logistics of the programme ahead of being delivered in the season following implementation.

Reward and Recognition Review, including BUCS Points: Beginning in May 2019, the Reward and Recognition Review is analysing the framework of how universities and their student-athletes are rewarded for performance and participation, for example, BUCS Points. 

Cycle Three

This has been postponed due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. It was originally scheduled to begin in April 2020 and is now anticipated for April 2021.

Cycle Two

Seven proposals were received in this cycle with six of those moving into implementation. 


Baseball & Softball

This document contains a proposal for both baseball and softball to be added to the BUCS Inter-Varsity Competition programme.

Since 2013, when the International Baseball Federation and the International Softball Federation merged to form the World Baseball Softball Confederation, the sports have been governed jointly, and inherently linked together. As the Development Agency for both baseball and softball in the UK, we are bound to continue this approach of presenting the sports together.

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This document outlines changes to the current BUCS Golf league competition that will allow for the development of a more competitive league structure.

A proposal is made for the creation of two new Premier leagues that encompass the whole of the UK. The proposal is designed to create the basis for a highly competitive top tier league competition offering.

The proposed changes would develop the top level of BUCS Golf leagues into a structure which would support the development of the best student golfers, attract the best British students to attend UK institutions and potentially attract more international students to study and compete at UK Institutions (Type 3-5 student-athletes).

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England Handball’s involvement in this Sport Review process is seen as a huge positive step, building on the numerous years of partnership working with BUCS across many different strands of development work.

This proposal was originally meant to build on our initial plan that was submitted to BUCS for membership feedback some months ago. We were generally very pleased with the feedback our initial plans received with over 75% of institutions supporting our proposal for BUCS to recognise our existing competition structure.

This will involve two changes to the structure of England Handball competition.

Splitting the current competition offer into two distinct parts;
1) England Handball led - Recreational Tournaments
2) BUCS led – National Championships; from 2020/21

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Men's Rugby League

This proposal has been partially implemented for the 2020-21 season. The National League element of the proposal has not been implemented due to not reaching the minimum number of teams required.

The remit of this proposal is to fully redesign and restructure the University Rugby League competition structure within BUCS providing a league competition that supports all Student Athlete types and fosters an excellent student experience.

It is expected that the new competition structure will have a positive effect on the playing experience of all Type 1-5 athletes within the BUCS Rugby League landscape as the current model has been judged as not ‘fit for purpose’, arching away from our overall aim of creating the best student Rugby League experience in the world.

Learn more about the RFL's Strategic Plan for 2015 - 2021.  

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Appendix C - Deregulations 9s
Appendix F - University RL Players Survey 



Olympic weightlifting is a fast-growing yet traditional Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport, with a recent track record of increasing participation across the education sector. A gap in the provision of the BUCS Sport Programme has been identified as Olympic weightlifting which is not currently featured in any form. Paralympic powerlifting (para powerlifting) is similarly not featured in the BUCS Sport Programme and this can also be addressed by an existing event.

This proposal compiled by British Weight Lifting seeks to address the gap in provision by identifying which specific student-athlete types are most prevalent, and the best method by which to service their demand.

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Wheelchair Basketball

This proposal has been prepared by British Wheelchair Basketball (BWB), the National Governing Body for Wheelchair Basketball in Great Britain. The purpose of this proposal is to provide a rationale for the inclusion of wheelchair basketball into the BUCS Competition Programme, becoming the first fully inclusive team sport. The proposal takes into account the strategic alignment of both bodies, resource implication and wider impact of introducing wheelchair basketball into the BUCS framework, using qualitative and quantitative data to validate the proposal. 

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In implementation


Adoption of the British Dodgeball university league pathway is highly sought after by both the university and wider dodgeball community. Benefits to this include increased awareness and more opportunities for student-athletes of Types 1-3 and a growing number of type 4 athletes in the sport.

The league operates regionally for males and females over 7-9 league meets throughout the season where two matches per team are played at each meet at an approximate cost of £3/player/match. BUCS would administrate the leagues whilst British Dodgeball delivers the leagues as a licenced franchisee by supplying referees, coordinators and all necessary equipment.

Dodgeball is an inclusive sport which has been shown to be one of the most highly participated team sports in schools, particularly amongst young people who will attend university in the near future.

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Not approved

Women's Rugby League

The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Rugby League SAG propose the introduction of new university female Rugby League offer. The proposal is to implement a four stage development plan which will conclude with the introduction of a 13-a-side BUCS competition offer.

There is currently no formal competition offer for female Rugby League within the Higher Education (HE) sector. Increased Female participation is one of the National Governing Bodies (NGB)  key objectives over the next three years as they build towards hosting the World Cup. The HE sector is of key significance to helping them achieve their goal of having 21,000 female participants playing Rugby League by 2021.

This proposal sets out the implementation of a strategically important programme for Rugby League which has full support from the National Governing Body - the Rugby Football League (RFL).

Download the full proposal

Appendix F

Cycle One 

 This concluded in February 2019. With 10 changes to the BUCS Competitions Programme approved.

However, Handball remained in implementation with the intention of being introduced into the programme in 2020-21.

Read the results of cycle one.

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