From Ron Chin's article on LET THEM PLAY.com
The untimely death of young Van Dokkelen, a local high school player, in a game with San Jose High, spelled the temporary end of [football] at Santa Clara. Upon hearing the news, Father President Gleeson immediately canceled the remaining 1905 schedule and eliminated the football program.
The students' continuing desire to play football resulted in the college adopting rugby for the 1908 season. Santa Clara was not alone, as Stanford, California, U.S.C. and Saint Mary's took up the English game in response to the dangers of American football. Involving more finesse, ball handling skills, and student-wide participation, rugby was well suited to Santa Clara.
From 1915 to 1917 Santa Clara dominated west coast rugby. The 1916 team went 10-0 outscoring it opponents 310 to 13. Only Stanford, who also went undefeated that season, matched their record. In what was billed as "The Big Game," (with Santa Clara replacing California, who had returned to American football that season) Santa Clara and Stanford met at Ewing Field in San Francisco before 40,000 fans, with Santa Clara defeating the Cardinal 28-5.
Five members of that championship team: Rudy Scholz, Jim Fitzpatrick, John O'Neil, Bill Muldoon, and John Muldoon, would be part of the team that represented the United States in the 1920 Olympic Games at Antwerp, Belgium. Made up of mostly Stanford and Santa Clara players, the United States blanked France 3-0 for the gold medal. Three Santa Clarans returned to the 1924 Paris Olympics: Scholz, O'Neil and Caesar Minelli, as the U.S. team again upset the highly favored French host team 17-3 before some forty thousand spectators.