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After opting out of DI-A in December, Cal has looked for an avenue into DI-AA competition. An attempt to get into the Northern California conference was denied by the conference, based largely on timing – schedules were already set. Some teams also said they would have stayed DII this season had they thought Cal would be playing DI-AA.

Upon hearing of Cal’s attempt to join the DI-AA conference, the College Competitions Committee drafted a letter to Cal alerting them they were not eligible for DI-AA competition this season. Below is an excerpt from that letter.

“The University of California men’s rugby team originally committed in the summer of 2011 to compete in the Collegiate Premiere Division (“CPD” now known as Division 1-A or “D1-A”) for the 2011-2012 USA Rugby collegiate competition cycle.

On 23 December 2011, the University of California men’s rugby team announced its withdrawal from the D1-A competition. While this withdrawal occurred prior to the start of the D1-A competition, the D1-AA competition has been ongoing since September 2011.

Once a competition is underway, a team from a higher level competition cannot withdraw from that higher level competition and drop down into the ongoing lower level competition. Allowing the University of California men’s rugby team to do so in this instance would set a dangerous precedent, one that our Committee is simply not willing to set. Furthermore, in no other college sport would a team be allowed to enter a competition mid-season, be it by dropping down from a higher competition or otherwise.

As the University of California men’s rugby program is, and always has been, the standard-bearer for the legitimization of the sport of rugby at the collegiate level, the Committee is certain that your program will understand and accept this necessary decision. If it so wishes, the University of California men’s rugby team may compete in the USA Rugby D1-AA competition beginning in the 2012-2013 competition cycle, and may do this either as a member of a recognized USA Rugby D1-AA conference or as an Independent team, not affiliated with a conference.”

Cal has field a grievance upon receiving the above ruling. USA Rugby’s Ed Todd is organizing a panel to hear the grievance this week. If the College Competitions Committee’s ruling is overturned, Cal will be eligible for an at-large bid to the 2011/2012 USA Rugby DI-AA playoffs.