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BYU has declined an invitation to the inaugural USA Rugby college 7s national championship, despite winning an automatic bid at Mountain 7s last month in Glendale, Colo., say sources close to the situation. We reported rumors the Cougars may turn down a bid if they should qualify several weeks ago, and those rumors, sources say, have come to fruition.
BYU head coach David Smyth could not be reached to confirm or deny this report.
BYU joins Dartmouth, winners of Ivy League 7s Saturday, as automatic qualifiers who are turning down their invitations to nationals. Dartmouth coach Alex Magleby has cited the timing of the event, during finals season, as the major reason the Big Green are staying home.
St. Mary’s, winners of California 7s – another qualifier, is still making its decision on whether or not to accept an automatic bid for nationals.
“The problem for us, like a lot of people is finals, first of all, second of all it was never on our budget,” St. Mary’s head coach Tim O’Brien told RUGBYMag.com. O'Brien reiterated after his initial discussion with RUGBYMag that the decision to go to nationals would be determined by whether or not his players could get clearance from their professors, as St. Mary's' finals end Dec. 17, the second day of nationals.
O’Brien says the Gaels are meeting Tuesday to making their decision. He also indicated some other teams who competed in California 7s may turn down an at-large bid, should one be extended, for the same reason St. Mary’s is teetering.
When an automatic bid is turned down, it becomes an at-large bid, so as it stands with BYU and Dartmouth declining bids to nationals, there will be 12 at-large bids for the competitions committee to dole out. That process is expected to take place as early as this week.