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UW-Whitewater on the attack. Jean Pachowitz Photo.

The collapse of the ECRC conference is having a ripple effect on DII. With Rhode Island leaving for the new Liberty Conference, the New England Rugby Conference appears to be merging with Rugby Northeast.

Several sources have indicated that URI leaving the conference was the catalyst for the movement. The NECRC would be down to four teams without URI, which is not ideal for competition purposes.

There will be an application process to enter Rugby Northeast so it does not seem to be a strict merger. It its not clear what the four other teams (Middlebury, Norwich, Vermont, New Hampshire) will be doing in terms of application, other than the University of new Hampshire, which is said to be moving to an independent DIAA schedule next fall.

Rugby Northeast already has 10 teams so it will be interesting to see how many teams the conference will accept. Adding the three remaining NECRC teams would put the conference at an odd number.

This is the first of probably several changes to come to DII. Every year the landscape for DII changes for various reasons, cost cutting and competition just to name a few.

Stay tuned for more updates.