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USA Rugby’s Club Director, Jim Snyder, is expected to offer an invitation to Olympic Club, Belmont Shore, OMBAC, and Santa Monica to join the Elite Cup.
Snyder told RUGBYMag.com that USA Rugby wants to provide any club that wants it the opportunity to play at the highest level. The interest shown by those four teams to join Glendale, Denver Barbarians, Seattle-OPSB, and SFGG, who are already in the Elite Cup, and create a new league, is a good thing, said Snyder.
Snyder also said that he and USA Rugby want to make it easier for teams to compete.
“We previously had the requirement that to play in the Elite Cup, you had to play in DI,” said Snyder. “But after NYAC and then Life said they didn’t want to do that, we took another look at it, and took that requirement out.”
What USA Rugby does want is to create a promotion/relegation model that depends on DI success for a team to be promoted back into the Elite Cup.
USA Rugby is expected to have some money (less than six figures) available to help teams with travel costs. However, it’s clear that the teams involved, including NYAC, Life, Boston and Old Blue in the East, are prepared to commit to an elite season of some ilk.
Snyder said the structure of the league is up in the air. It could end up being eight teams in the West playing each other once, and four in the East playing each other twice. It could include playoffs, or a single championship match (slated for May 24 at the moment).
“Once the teams either accept or decline, we’ll have an understanding of which teams want to be in the Elite Cup and which teams don’t, and we’ll then want those teams to help us dictate the schedule that works for them,” said Snyder. “We want it to be the competition that the teams want. So if the teams involved want them in, it only makes sense to invite them in.
“Whether it’s home and away, or home or away, a national league or split geographically, we really don’t have any edict from USA Rugby as to what it has to look like. It just needs to work for the teams.”
If the teams don’t want to be in the Elite Cup, Snyder said USA Rugby is not going to sanction or punish them – their competition will simply be outside the USA Rugby aegis.