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Kutztown (in dark jerseys) will face Cal in the CRC final on Sunday at PPL Park. Photo credit: Jack Megaw.

DI-A and college rugby dignitaries met in Houston, Texas over the weekend to discuss the future of the competition, and a couple of interesting ideas are being kicked around. One that’s been bandied about for a while is moving USA Rugby’s College 7s National Championships to the spring.

USAR’s first three tournaments have been held in November and December, twice in College Station, Texas and once in Greensboro, NC. None of those years was weather ideal, and on two occasions it was pretty miserable. That, along with the movement of the majority of DI college rugby conferences to playing 7s primarily in the spring, has seemingly prompted the discussion.

It would likely be slotted in late May, after the Varsity Cup and USAR National Championships but before the Collegiate Rugby Championship. The move would give teams playing spring 7s a chance to play a season beginning with the Las Vegas Invitational in February and culminating in either the CRC or USAR’s Championship or both.

The other big piece of newsworthy material is the reformation of DI as a whole. Teams were very warm to a proposal that would essentially blend DI-A and DI-AA together for the regular season, and have two separate postseasons populated based on merit.

So, for example, this year Central Florida might have had such a great season that it would have made it into the DI-A playoffs instead of the DI-AA playoffs. The idea is still pretty vague, but the postseason selections would rely heavily on a rankings system. This year DI-A, for the first time, used its own rankings to determine postseason berths and match-ups. Apparently teams liked the result and are willing to consider expanding that concept.

For a few years now, DI-A has been battling attrition, and the depth of quality has been in question. By doing away with any real distinction between itself and DI-AA, DI-A assures that the best teams in America not committed solely to the Varsity Cup or ACRC are vying for the same trophy. It also takes away any potential incentive in sandbagging to win a DI-AA title.

Neither of these changes are set in stone, but they’re apparently being strongly considered at the highest level.

Some whispers about two high-profile teams considering the Varsity Cup also leaked out of Houston. Arkansas State and Army are rumored to be considering joining the Varsity Cup. Nabbing ASU would shore up Varsity Cup’s claim as a national championship, and joining the other major military academies, at least on the surface, makes sense for Army. 

Comments

Knowing Rugby Today and its affiliates are proponents/sponsors of the Varsity Cup it is to be expected that you support AK State and Army going to the Varsity Cup competition. But in reality that flies in the face of what you said before about the competitions. If the D 1A and D 1AA are playing 7's in the spring then how do you have a varsity cup of 15's. You also did not speak to the USA 15's national championship and when it would be? So the two teams (Life and St. Mary's) that have battled for the last two years for the National Title are excluded from the Varisty Cup. And this is good thing? Why don't the folks at Rugby Today and its partner organizations start supporting the USA Rugby fixtures. You can have your invitational tournaments and they are the equivalent of the playoffs that USA Championships go through. Then your top two or three teams can join into the USA Fixture. I know that presents an issue for Cal with their exclusive TV contract, but they are not above the rest of the teams in the country. What I am seeing is the move with college rugby to what just happen with the men's D1, Life was not part of any league, played in and won it without the PRP league included. So Life D1A and St. Mary's will play in (hopefully some other non-varsity cup teams play up) and we have a national champion still without all the teams considered. What a waste!
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Never said any of the moves were "good things", simply gave you the reasoning behind them. I also stated that USAR's 7s Championship would be in May after BOTH the Varsity Cup AND USAR's 15s National Championship. Oh, and St. Mary's has been invited to and turned down the Varsity Cup. The Gaels are not being excluded, they're choosing to exclude themselves. And the people who started the Varsity Cup (Not anyone at RT or at UWS. It started on its own) are people who "supported USA Rugby fixtures" for decades and grew weary of the mismanagement.
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You missed the point entirely, if the National 7's, Varisty Cup , USAR 15's and CRC are all going to be in May to 1st of June how is that going to work? That is a lot to ask from any team to do. Let alone those playing 15's in the spring, like the varsity cup and the southern conferences. You also missed the point of having the varsity cup be a playoff conference for the USAR 15's. It runs counter to the party lines. As to frustrated by USA Rugby mismanagement, I have also been frustrated but it is our governing body, it is the international contact of rugby for the US, and it needs to be worked with, not abandoned. Only to those who have drunk the Kool Aid does varsity cup winner compare to US National Champion. By the way, how can it be a varsity cup when most of the programs are club and not varsity status, and many of the schools that are varsity are not included?
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I've always liked Arkansas State and would hate to see them drop out of the National Championship hunt in favor of simply competing in the Varsity Cup conference. It's bad for American rugby to separate the best teams from competing with each other.
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Honestly i Think everyone wants the top tier rugby teams playing each other in a playoff sitiuation, that being D1a or Varsity Cup. those schools are Life, St. mary's, Byu, Cal, Ark state. Adding teams that are in the second tier of teams but quickly rising would be amazing also( like Ucla, Central Washington, Lindenwood, Navy, Kutztown, Utah,) . This would bring college into a new era where there are multiple high performing programs that high schoolers can attend for a national championship. Basically just put the best teams against each other.
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Pat Clifton, Saint Mary's rugby has NEVER been invited to play in the CRC. Saint Mary's has been invited to play in a qualifier tournament and declined.
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