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05 May 2009


If you want more competitive rugby in the USA, put the top college sides in the now existent Super League. Cal, BYU can join Life and Palmer in the men's RSL competition. They have the talent and the money to do it.

If you want a future that is like college lacrosse with all the trimmings of a NCAA sport including a final with 50K people attending the final and 120K plus showing up for the three day semis and finals, then you are going to be waiting 20 or 30 years.

College rugby needs to be forever separated from club rugby. In the old days of gridiron there were many exhibitions and trainings with the 50 bucks per game pro players. It will be another American regime before that happens.

In order to fast track the pro game, the IRB needs to use the HP monies within our SL for a 5 year plan. Once that league has been established as "healthy" (where foreign players see it as a viable option) - the plug should be pulled.

Leave College rugby alone. Let them start their own League independent of USArFU.

With the right people involved, there is no doubt that rugby could be a viable commercial property, both College and elite club. 30 years is a ridiculous figure, maybe you are used to these Bored of Erections and their 40 year plans.

I say 10, with the right people.

Really is dumb. really

Does this story sound more like a college rugby story or a RSL story?


I don't think this is the future everyone envisions for "varsity" college rugby, but this is what gets you to the top of the heap.

While I don't think all these clubs could afford the travel, just for fun, here is my College Super 12 teams:

- West: Cal, BYU, Cal Poly, SDSU, St. Marys, with the last spot going to Central Washington or Univ. of Utah

- East: LSU, Army, Navy, Dartmouth, Penn State, with the last spot either Kutztown or Arkansas State.

Looking at those teams it seems that the West might be doable, considering there are 4 California teams. It would be most difficult for BYU, Utah or CW. Are these clubs well funded?

The East would be tough on LSU, Arkansas State and Dartmouth. Same question, are these clubs well funded? I suppose you could try to create a South, with Life undergrads, LSU, Tennessee, and Arkansas State.


Yeah, someone will come up with what is actually a fairly workable plan for a collegiate super league - then it will get run through a couple of committees and reworked to meet the needs of a few special interests - only to emerge with absolutely no funding or budget...

See high school eligibility rules for details.

Every time I hear someone suggest reducing the number of playoff teams or regionalizing the playoffs, to me it seems like he's only suggesting substituting one unfairness for another. The only fair way to do a playoff is to do the best, most equitable stab at ranking the teams nationally, then using that ranking to include every team that has a shot at winning. Who does the ranking? How 'bout a blue ribbon committee composed of coaches, media and athletes who volunteer to do the job. Just like the March Madness seedings, you get the guys in a room, slide pizza under the door and a few hours later out come the seedings. To make sure that every conceivable opportunity is given to prevent excluding a possible winner, the NCAA has the field at 65 teams. 16 is probably enough for Division 1 College Rugby (heck, in the last 3 years, 4 would have been enough; but which four? That's another story). You have to allow for an occasional surprise, like Arkansas State this year. If they don't play BYU do they make the semis? That's where the seedings come in.

Hold the first two rounds at the facilities of the top 2 seeds (if they want to host them, otherwise, send them to an alternate that wants to host them). Hold one playoff on Friday/Sunday with one rest day in between, and the one in which BYU is involved on Thursday, Saturday, again with a rest day. Make sure every match, including the consolation games are Webcast.

Wait a week or two, then hold the semis at a neutral site on Saturday and the final, just like the NCAA roundball finals on Monday Night, with live television on CBS (a guy can dream, can't he?). If you held the final at BYU, you could get the semis and final broadcast live on KBYU into 48 million homes in the US since it's on that many basic cable and satellite packages. Also, to make this work, have the Union fund the accomodations for the big four teams from the gate receipts at the finals, so the schools only have to pick up the airfare, dramatically reducing costs to the teams involved.

Regional playoffs to find final 4, which are played on home college campus based on seeds. Teams earn home field advantage, and let's create some excitement on these campus to promote rugby. Balloon Park rugby must never happen again.


Semis in Glendale CO (Thursday)
2 days rest
Finals in Glendale CO (Sunday)

Get the best deal for TV and sponsorships that you can and be happy with it. If it takes off, then you can look at other option. Regarding the mormons I see a bunch of them playing in the NFL each Sunday, so they can just take their grievance to the court system. If the Supreme Court says that USA Rugby can have matches on Sunday, then we they change it.

There is not commercial model that makes college rugby self-sustaining. It does not happen in all but 2 sports (football and basketball) in the college game now. The way all the NCAA playoffs are funded is through the NCAA Tournament.

The only way to fund college rugby is through the alumni. Rugby was a club sport, before "club sports" existed. Most teams started in the 60s meaning that they have alumni that now have money. It takes some work, but college teams can organize and bring in significant dollars. This is the Cal model.

Butts on seats and TV rights will not raise enough money, the same way it does not in all the more traditional American sports.

I agree, though there is a place for Balloon Park rugby (Spring hit-out or Fall Tourney).
Regions of 4, just like the old days of logic.
More home games on College campuses, just like the old days of logic.
I have seen many policies and programs which defy logic in the last few years. Feldspar's "March Madness" is maddening. This madness is right up USArFU's alley.

You know the alley I'm talking about. It is a sad alley.

USArFU just sits there on their mattress all day, scribbling down the schizo programs and policies for future implementation.

They place two buckets in front of the mattress, one to accumulate cash, one to accumulate coins and human waste.

At the end of the day, he stuffs the cash inside his mattress and shares the heavier bucket with his friends.

They were disgusted at first, but are now used to sifting through the crap looking for nickels and dimes.

Yet the forthcoming American Rugby Championships will exclude university (and high school) athletes because students can't miss the start of the school year,

What is the American Rugby Championship? What the heck is Kurt talking about. He just throws something out there and doesnt explain it. Its going to be in the fall i guess? huh??

USAR will be of no use in creating a new college competition with commercial intentions.

It will be the colleges themselves which will need to do it. Some of these schools are already at it. They have created fans, media, facilities and budgets. When they combined their efforts into a new competition it will be significant.

This will be a spring competition played on college campuses.

The majority of the teams left behind will need to decide what they want from their rugby experience. They can push for inclusion in the top fight privately managed competition, continue as is, or create a new an improved organization to run D1 through D3 college rugby.

It is hard to imagine USAR having a meaningful role in college rugby going forward.

Melville and Company are so far behind the curve from an understanding and skills view and so busy doing nothing with the Eagles and the IRB, that they're unable to play a part.

Marty is wrong when he talks about the college super league being committee-ed to death. The committees are part of Melville and USAR, and like USAR and Melville they aren't important in this regard.

As USAR=not important points out, this is already in the works in places. Some college teams in North and South Carolina are working to form their own Carolinas League that will play in the spring and be run by its own commissioner, market itself locally, have its own website, etc. The Ivy League is doing it too.

I have a fear that the top rugby universities will create their own competition and leave the rest of college rugby to these clowns in Boulder.

What we need is a new organization for all of college/university rugby; men, women, at all levels.

USARFU should just run the Eagles and be a sanctioning body for the rest of the parts of the union.

RSL doesn't need Roberts, Melville and the lot. Neither does high school and youth. University rugby needs to break away to reach its potential, for sure.

The ref's are their own body. There are no real services at USARFU to hang on to. And please don't mention that bullshit 3rd party liability insurance, because most all universities don't need it. If any club, HS or college needs 3rd party insurance it can be purchased. I'm sick of the rugby administration making this policy more than it is.

Each aspect of US rugby should keep its dues within. Each aspect should keep their marketing, sponsorship and event dollars within and each segment should pay for their own needs. College kids shouldn't be funding Melville $275,000 salary, nor that of Eddie O'Sullivan and the Eagles.

In reviewing the season, there isn't much doubt that the best of the college sides would do just find in the super league. The two college finalist both defeated RSL playoff teams, for example.

In looking at the RSL playoff teams, I doubt that any D1 team could make a claim to be of the same or better standard as the RSL playoff teams, but several college teams could.

This is reason 400 why USAR and its leadership has screwed their assignment while wasting millions in IRB grants on the Eagles. Not only has the union leadership failed college rugby, they have exploited college rugby to support the Eagles. Less than half the NG college sponsorship funds has gone to college rugby. The college post season teams paid many thousands and got a free jersey for the privilege.

What the NG is starting to understand is they are part of this exploitation. They teams pay 100% of the cost of the national post-season and USAR and the NG exploit the event for their own purposes.

High priced executives and national team coaches are being paid on the CIPP dues and commercial income provided by college rugby and to a lesser extent by youth and high school rugby.

The NG must understand how badly this undermines their sponsorship objectives. The NG has bought college rugby cheap from its current slave owners. It has branded the jersey's of a hundred college teams for zero rights fee, good deal for the NG. They have gained the TV rights to top rival matches and the post-season for free. The only one making money on the NG sponsorship is the Melville household and the Eagles program.

USAR=not important: "This will be a spring competition played on college campuses."

Is this the new "elite" college competition? Or the "American Rugby Championships"? Or, are these one in the same?

College rugby is approx. equivalent to D1 Rugby. You have 4 or 5 really good teams that could compete and win some games at the SL level.

Don't fool yourself, February preseason SL is a different animal than April/May.

BYU could hang with the physicality, but then again, their players are 25 years old.

Given that college rugby seems to be expanding, perhaps we could all take a moment to remember that we're watching rugby - which means, among other things, that we DON'T BOO THE KICKERS of the other teams while they're lining up penalties/conversions.

I was in the clubhouse stands at Stanford for the final and this behaviour (perfectly demonstrated by Cal fans during the match-winning kick by BYU) is DISGRACEFUL. I've been to NBA games where that nonsense isn't as bad during free throws.

While I'm at it, the same exact thing happens at high school games.

Bottom line: it needs to stop. Perhaps whoever writes the "what is rugby?" introduction found in the program for this event could include some guidelines for what constitutes acceptable behaviour at a rugby match. Certainly the announcer could say something over the PA as well.

I don't want to take anything away from the event though - the game itself was one of the best I've ever seen anywhere.

We are in the USA Ze, and in the USA we don't give anyone respect from the opposition!

On a side note. I loved the thug rugby played by BYU. Let's get some of that into the Eagles side and beat down some of these Tier 2 nations like the Japs!


don't boo the kicker? listen, if i don't have a dog in the fight, i want make a peep, but if i am a supporter of the opposition, why not make some noise? do you not think this goes on all over the world, in every sport!?!? i was recently watching a RSL game and the ref made a terrible call and a bunch of Aussies on the sideline commented that the crowd would have gone balistic at home, but here, you couldn't hear a peep. i'm not advocating yelling at the ref (like fat old boys tend to do), but don't think that we should be at the game and sit on our hands because thats what you think goes on in the rest of the rugby world.

Zé Cacetudo,

I think you have have the teams reversed. IT was the BYU crowd that boo'd and catcalled during the CAL attempts for goal.

The Cal fans were mostly respectful, until the game was on the line, and they had had enough of the BYU boorish behaviour.

It was most disappointing to see that BYU led the way with this antic.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest that the BYU fans were innocent of this behaviour. As I mentioned, it was "perfectly demonstrated by Cal fans during the match-winning kick by BYU". We're in agreement there.

Regardless of what goes on in other sports in America or elsewhere... one of the key elements of our game is its sportsmanship. Not booing the kickers is one way to show such sportsmanship (and respect). Have a look at the IRB playing charter:

Comments like "we don't give anyone respect from the opposition" because we're in the USA are asinine.

I don't have specific examples handy, because I don't have access to my collection of match video at the moment, but I assure you it's commonplace for the crowd at a packed rugby stadium - the whole crowd - to quiet down at kicking time. In some cases there's complete silence even when the game is on the line.

The best thing that came out of this championship match and victory by BYU is that the style of American Rugby was being defined with the win. BYU was an early adopter of importing foreign born players, and the rest of the country followed suit based on their success (Arkansas State, Dartmouth, Colorado, K-town, etc). Now BYU has shown us the way again by demonstrating to the country how to play some smashmouth rugby with a little bit of Raider style football flair from the fans to boot! This is the style that USA Rugby should adopt. Every nation has a style that suits their athletes, and smashmouth rugby suits the USA players and the USA fans. I would love to see the Eagles lay some Daryl Stingley type hits on the All Blacks in a World Cup with a full house of Americans going ballistic talking trash and booing opposition kicks for points.

Bring the Pain USA
Smashmouth rugby is the way!

Hawley jumps into the air, back to the defense to field a kick in the air. BYU fullback takes him out while in the air.

After the match the BYU player, Sam Thorley says to ERN, "I knew he was in the air, but I wasn't too worried...we play on the edge and sometimes that leads to cards".

I guess this is why he drove through the tackle, directly in front of the ref.


That is a great photo.
Old School collision, wrap, leg drive.

The only thing missing was driving the ball carrier into the earth.

In my day that would be called covering the 4 basic food groups.
Man that makes me hungry.

F-yeah! That is some smashmouth stuff there. I like the idea of USA being the world's smashmouth team. Fits our nation fine. Get some hard hitting brothers that can't cut it in the NFL and let's do some head hunting. The rest of the world will duck and run and will change the game forever. I likey.

thorley is a SCUMBAG. that hit is criminal. Im all for smashmouth. Im not for cheap shots. There is a difference and men with class no how to play hard without breaking the rules that are in place to protect player's lives. Hawley isnt wearing pads or a helmet. that could have very seriously injured him.

Grow up "college rugby!!!" and let's get the job done! Smashmouth rugby all the way for the USA. Let's break some bones next test series.

Yeah! THAT is a BYU hit.

It's a red card hit, if Davey Ardrey had guts. The BYU crowd had him intimated so he choked under the pressure.

He had already been shown a bloody bite mark by Thorley.

Good for BYU, bad for the sport.

I agree. Its a yellow if he eases out of the tackle. Drive through the whole way, is red.

Following through with an around the neck tackle.


WTF! Tell me this guy was red carded!

These tackles are criminal. There is no place in the game for this. Was there a match commissioner?

In the UK, these type of hits would be under review and if the ref didn't property adjudicate his rulings he would also be on the carpet.

Numina Photos have some excellent photos of the BYU v Cal match.

Check out picture number 4 on the web site. The BYU #12 throwing a short arm into the throat of Colin Hawley. This kid Hawley took a beating from BYU: short-arm throat shot, undercut in the air and bitten. All in a days work!

BYU brings the pain and you guys whine. Grow some nads.

Neither of those tackles have the slightest hint of legality or remorse from the tackler.

Illegal tackles happen in the game of rugby, but when they happen so often, it is a problem.

In both of these examples, the tackler is not "letting up" knowing that he is in the wrong.

This is a coaching problem....and needs to be addressed.

Coach Smyth congrats on this years accomplishments, but please clean this up!!

BYU brought in these players for ALL their sports because they were known as a white bred laughing stock before this. They went for polynesian players on the premise of the mormon values of cheap shots, high tackles and no remorse. BYU sold out to an Oakland Raider mentality, because they were athletic jokes before. If you read their uninverisity mission statement, it preaches that they never will do any harm to anybody, blah blah blah. Trust me, they took pacific island rugby values with the disregard of rules and said F YOU to the american rugby establishment. Then hide behind the mormon values excuse that they just want to spread love throughout the world. It worked too. The ref's balls shriveled up into ovaries and he started to lactate, when he needed to man up. I bet $50 to anyone, that next season if BYU is allowed to play the way they did this year an opponent WILL be severely injured.

One last thing...I'm all for smashmouth rugby. It's exciting and makes for great viewing for the spectator. But if you have to resort to clothslining, high tackling a guy in the air or crap like that to win a match, it shows that you doubt your own skills to play an opponent straight up. Sure there will be a niggle here and there, but it just seems to me that is the ONLY way BYU knows how to win. You badasses can say, "Yeah man smashmouth, anything goes rugby is the way." Yeah, its the way until they do that crap to you.

Won't play on Sundays so as to not break the rules.

Yet some of their guys play -- and interview after the game -- without following the same credo the university espouses?

To paraphrase Reg Dunlop,

I am personally placing a hundred-dollar bounty on the head of Sam Thorley. He's the fullback and chief punk on that BYU team.

---- Jim Carr: A bounty? ----

Yeah, a hundred bucks of my own money for the first of my guys who really nails that creep.

It's all fun and games until someone gets paralyzed.

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