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Army's Captain Danny Goff. Photo credit Cordell Hoffer

Penn State and Army are expected to be announced as the latest teams to join the Varsity Cup. The Nittany Lions and Black Knights will come on board for the 2016 competition, giving the postseason knockout tournament 16 teams. 

Both programs recently named new head coaches, Army former All American, Stanford and San Diego State head man Matt Sherman, and Penn State former Utah head man Blake Burdette. The Nittany Lions are currently 5-2 this fall and 4-1 in the Rugby East conference. The Black Knights are undefeated and sit atop the Rugby East standings. 

The additions bolster an already strong Varsity Cup field, with two of college rugby's most dominant teams east of the Mississippi River, all time, coming on board. Together, Penn State and Army have combined for 21 final four appearances. 

An official announcement with all the details is expected from the Varsity Cup next week, but it appears the expansion to 16 teams will eliminate the first-round byes enjoyed by Cal and BYU last year and by four teams in 2014. Dates and first-round pairings for the Varsity Cup have not yet been determined. 



The Varsity Cup unfortunately isn't helping the overall issue of establishing a true college rugby champion which I think is the goal right? Until D1ARugby and the Varsity Cup can come together and all the elite teams are included (St. Marys & Life specifically) this is simply a tournament...not a championship. Now if the goal is to simply bring rugby to the masses, well I suppose it is doing that to some extent. It can be better and am curious what the long-term goal of the Varsity Cup is.
The goal of Varsity Cup? To capitalise upon the intellectual property of the participant schools. USA Rugby championship competitions were a one-way revenue street. Competitors bore travel expense to the venues but didn't have a share in sponsorships. Tight budgets are, in part, to blame.