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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.