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05 March 2010


Yup. College rugby is by far our best product. There can no longer be any doubt. Get the message Boulder? NBC and USA7s just hit you over the head with it. First time live rugby will be on a major network since when?? This is going to be great. How many high school and youth players will hear about this and see it on tv and say "that's what I want to do"? How many administrators and alumni will see it. So huge. FINALLY.

This comes on the heels of Boulder's $275k top-man issuing a college strategic plan which really didn't mention college sevens, other than to say USAR needed to make a strategy for college sevens.

In fact, if the author of the plan, Nigel Melville had changed the type-face and spacing, the plan was a one-pager. Nice plan after four years in the CEO saddle :-)

USAR will of course sanction the new college 7's event, owned in full by USA Sevens, a private company.

USA Sevens in showing its far more fair and enlighten than USAR and will be paying 100% of the participating teams expenses.

USAR, a greedy, Eagles-centric organization, collected millions in college and high school sponsorship proceeds from the National Guard in 2008 and 2009, selling title rights to the national championships another other things, while having the participating teams in the respective national championships pay 100% of the participation cost. Resulting in USAR retaining the sponsorship income for high priced employee salaries and the Eagles, who trade world ranking places 19th through 17th.

If ever USAR's lack of professional competency has been on display its now. USAR is being broken-up into pieces by an incompetent and arrogant CEO and Board of Directors.

Viva la college sevens, and may this be the beginning of the end of the foreign masquerade administration.

Having been in negotiations with CBS and ESPN for other sports properties, I can tell you that this is a phenomenal -- and phenomenally tough to get -- development. Now, it may be a time buy, but who cares? I agree that even if it was, USAR should have been doing it long ago. Well done USA 7s

Why has the National Guard allowed USAR to rip-off the very students and families they are marketing?

Why would the NG allow USAR to retain the title rights sponsorship fee, using it for other purposes, when the very teams and people they are targeting are getting the shaft? The only guess that comes to mind is the NG didn't realize how bad it was. Once USAR marketing executive David Voth left, the cracks started to show. It was a sponsorship ponzy scheme.

How about USAR selling to the NG the rights to the Army v Navy match? One small problem, USAR didn't own the rights to the match, Navy did. So here's how it works. Army pays all their expenses to participate in the match, Navy the same, along with 100% of the event expense. While USAR sells the game to the National Guard, uses a portion of the money to produce the match for TV and pockets most of the NG sponsorship fee as, well, profit. Forget that they sold to the Guard something they didn't own. We are just so happy to get on TV, we allowed ourself to be taken advantage us.

I hope the National Guard continues to sponsor US high school and college rugby, but not through a corrupt approach.

While Melville is pushing the USCRA boys around with tough talk, USA Sevens is mowing his grass.

The only mention of college sevens in the newly released college strategic plan was under item #57, Review of Current College Competitions. Sevens made a sub-point reference "develop a strategy for college sevens rugby". I shite you not, thats it.

Meanwhile, conversations have been going on for weeks with USA Sevens and the participating teams with Melville and Co completely out of the loop.

Melville is a sad fellow at this point. For those of you that think NM is making $275k you're wrong, he is on $300k. Unbelievable!

Interesting. The original list had Yale, who has since been replaced by Arizona.

USA Rugby takes a huge hit on this one, but they will claim it as meeting one of their college rugby objectives in the next newsletter and other releases. I am sure Nigel called the IRB to tout this new development to develop rugby in the USA, and the IRB is none the wiser that he had nothing to do with it. IRB is Nigel's master, and the he will get all the praise in the IRB halls in Dublin.

Its not just NM and the Board. Congress deserves some credit for the Strategic Mini-Plan.

That plan (bad use of the word) didn't take one topic and outline a strategy.

Congress has been talking about this plan for over a year and this is what they produce.

On the college sevens. Jon Prusmack is just too smart for these clowns. Its like taking candy from a baby. At least we know he will do a great job with the event and look after the teams.

There is one primary reason for the broadcasting of this tournament - the Olympics. No Olympics / No TV. Rugby has legitimacy now.

That said - congratulations to those that got this done.

Lets hope this carries over to the Vegas tournament next year.

Good stuff indeed.

I'll preface all this by saying that having college rugby broadcast on NBC is incredible. However, think about this: Say this event is a success. It thus becomes the college 7s rugby national championship event. It's in early June, so that means the college 7s season needs to be in the spring leading up to it. If we all agree that 7s is the future of the sport in this country, then fine, slam dunk, end of story. Everyone switches to 7s and 15s becomes an obsolete fall recreational sport played by colleges in the Northeast. However, for years I've been hearing everyone on this blog clamoring for a spring 15s season. Has that changed? Because if we let NBC run the show, (and let's face it, they hold all the cards in terms of where and when this event is played) then we need to face the fact that 15s will be dead. NBC has zero reason to promote the 15s game. The spring sports window that we want to fit in will be occupied by 7s rugby, and 7s rugby only. All this talk of a spring college premiere league? Dead (at least for 15s). The schools that want to play in the NBC-televised national championship in early June need to be playing 7s leading up to it. You can't play a 15s season and then switch versions of the game the next week for a national championship. I'll go back to what I said at the start - this is awesome. But be careful what we wish for, folks. Don't be so quick to jump on USAR that you lose sight of everything else.

Also, with respect to the strategic plan, everyone here bashes our CEO and the Board for being foreign with no understanding of the college athletic system. I think the stratgic plan recognizes that. It puts in place a plan to have college rugby run by people who understand American scholastic sports. I can virtually guarantee you that the new collegiate director will not be foreign. Same goes for the collegiate steering committee. You guys bash Melville for not understanding American scholastic sports on the one hand, and then bash him for not writing a better strategic plan about American scholastic sports on the other hand. I'm not usually a USAR apologist, but I think this is a topic where the trolls on this board are simply going to complain about everything, no matter what.

time once again to reflect on how much easier this usarfu administration has it over any that came before. world and domestic rugby is a bigger, more commercially active sport than ever before. there are countless broadcast platforms seeking content. the internet only grows even more opportunities. the people in the trenches (who were btw on the job long before these boys showed up) just keep growing youth rugby. the irb is providing tier two unions with unprecedented grants, to the tune of millions. the big unions, with teams that can draw spectators and sponsors, are providing usarfu with home matches. they are even paying all their travel cost and the match and event expenses.

it's in this very favorable position to all that have gone before, this usar administration has failed its mission.

failure comes in degrees, and this usarfu's administrative failure is epic.


You're wrong to defend Melville. True he doesn't understand much about being a CEO and even less about the US college sport set-up. But he's had four years to learn and pull together a plan and he hasn't done it.

Four years later the plan is to make a plan. How can you defend this. Calling me a troll won't work, defend no plan, then a plan for a plan. By the way, hiring a college director won't do much. Look at our budgets, how will we ever turn this small hire into a college rugby department?

Lets face facts. In our situation a small T2 rugby union, our $300,000 per year CEO needs to understand the job and be capable of performing all the tasks associated with the job. Melville can't, as we both agree. He's got to go.

I've never liked playing 7's, 15's has always been for me. but if I had a choice to watch either....gimme 7's. Love it. But lets be honest, maybe...maybe...half the teams involved with this tourney actually have legitimate athletes. The bottom half well, we all know there's a big drop off between the elite 8 college teams in this country and the rest. and who the hell watches t.v. in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday? yeah, my grandma does too...

P.s. good for Life for donating their winnings. we all know they're spoiled but still pretty rad....yeah that's right, I said rad

Great news -- I love 7's an the exposure is fantastic.

It just begs the question, how much time will these teams have to learn 7's? I know that non-7's people believe that any rugby player turn up and play 7's, but the techniques, tactics and fitness are quite different. And alot of these teams will be in the playoffs/championships prior to this event.

Don't want to see us fall on our faces right out of the gate.

Regardless, it's a great opportunity, and good on USA 7's.

The poster named 7's, brings up a good point with the timing of the event, its not good. Spring will be when 10's of thousands of high school boys and girls of all shapes and sizes and university students will play fifteen aside rugby.

This event should have been a late fall/winter event which concludes a fall 7-a-side season of tournaments. This of course leads directly to the international sevens season and provides a positive off-season to fifteens.

If this is what USAR would have preferred they should have been pushing this concept. The strategic plan should have reflected this plan.

As is, the first go around will be in June, really bad time for a college event, but lets see if it can be made to work.

USAR needs to wake up and get out in front of these types of issues. Is the chief executive really waiting for a new hire position to make all these decisions? Isn't that kind of gutless and wrong headed. The new college director position might not even have any rugby experience.

Man this stuff should have been decided two weeks after the Olympic vote.

Dont want to complain about such an amazing development, and the first time out certainly won't be perfect, but I just read the 'letters' on ARN and in response to Doc Jones' letter complaining that the lesser name schools were left out. Lowe said he heard that the schools were hand-picked by the USA 7s execs and nbs or whoever is involved in it.

Totally agree with Doc on this one. Michigan may be a huge name school but when they get blown out 150-0 vs Cal in a 14 minute match is that going to be good for anyone?? There needs to be a balance between big brand name schools and quality rugby. Florida, Yale, Michigan are all going to be annihilated. St. Mary's would have one of the best 7s teams in the country when you consider their backline and the skilled forwards they always have. So while not a big name they would provide a very exciting product to watch in any match they took part in. I hope they reconsider and try to find that balance. I am sure they will in the future but maybe they can do it the first time out and make this as good as possible.

Although I agree that the smaller schools should have a vehicle to participate, I think the Univ. of Mich, Yale and Florida will all see a sudden spike of interest from the Athletics Dept. and School Admin. There is no way these powerhouse schools will let there club rec team put a bad product on the field. I imagine an influx in money for uniforms, travel, player development and recruitment will lead up to this event. Hell, the football team may even be lending some players to ensure what a previous posted mentioned WILL NOT happen, a 150-0 drubbing. Maybe this is what schools like this needed because I see no way any of these schools will any longer let them go at it alone and embarrass the school on the national stage.

good point Cody. Though I imagine the football coach will say no freaking way. Though that doesnt mean it cant attract some players away from the varsity teams. But everything else as far as support will probably come. No way they let teams with mesh shorts or mismatching socks on the pitch.

Another big question is who is paying for this? Are they going to pay the costs of all the teams getting there or are the clubs themselves? Not to mention some schools are done classes in early may. Seniors have graduated and moved on to jobs by June. What support is going to be given to these teams to help make sure they all put the best team possible on the field come June?

NBC Universal will hold the tournament when they want it - they are a massive organization with bottomless pockets. Do you possibly think they are going to listen to USA Rugby or anyone for that matter? As far as NBC is concerned they own the Olympics and all the sports therein.

There is talk that NBC is trying to get the 100 meters at the London Olympics run at 1am local so that it can broadcast it live during primetime on the east coast. Now that'll get the poms whining :-)

This won't even be a blip on those school's Athletic Dept.'s radars. How much money will this bring in the Athletic Dept.? Right, zero. Probably an outlay of cash.

As far as the schedule, the teams, etc. - that's the one big downside when we start playing with the big boys. They call the tune, tell us how it's going to be done and we'll thank them for the opportunity. We'll (the rugby community) have to give up some autonomy for moving into the big-time. It happened in Europe and SANZAR as well -- just the price of "professionalism". Money talks.

Until we grow the game to where we have some leverage, we're more or less at their mercy.

Why do you think we still don't have a college football playoff system!!??

Where have you heard that, Jack, about the 100m? From what I've seen over recent Olympiads, NBC seems pretty committed to NOT showing live sport.

Wasn't Michigan suspended a couple years ago? Arizona State has a crap backline and play 12 man rugby when it comes to 15s. Yale blows! WTF?

While everyone is jumping onboard the 7's bandwagon, do not forget we will have to qualify,if we don't what then?

True, Paule (I assume you're talking about the Olympics). I guess it depends how the qualifying will work as well. If we only have to qualify out of N. America/W. Indies, we're looking good.

But it would be the ultimate cruel joke if we missed out on 2016!

Andre the Giant
You are quite correct sir - it annoys the bejesus out of me!

Its just a rumor I started to wind a few Londoners up :-)

I'll be in London for it, I couldn't stand watching it from here and not getting to see any of it live :-(

7's and other dolts,
June is in the summer (America).

7's rugby is a summer sport (America).
7's rugby is now a Summer Olympic sport (American summer).
Fortunately, someone made this decision for the head dolts in charge. Now the game will flourish.

March is in the winter (America).
USArFU and dolt sympathizers have turned rugby into a Winter sport.
The regular season ends before basketball and even hockey for crisssakes. Who decided to this - we wear shorts and short sleeves?!?

No wonder 15's rugby has been a joke for so long and in decline (for athletes).

March 2010: College 7's rugby kicks USArFU 15's rugby to the curb. They do this, essentially, for one singular reason:
They identify and embrace Rugby 7's as a summer sport.

Now back to the current 15's season debacle;
Shocking that our high priced ass clowns can't make any decision which will enable growth. Simply by identifying the SPRING as 15's window, playing meaningful home matches into early April, the game would grow. Better athletes and more campus following is guaranteed.

I hope the dolts in charge will have someone make a decision for them (call me - 1-555-OBVIOUS), identifying the Spring for this American niche sport (will always be).

Lastly, the regular season ends this week. All of the rugby fans (girlfriends and parents), clad in long johns, mittens, and scarves.

1 or 2 meaningful home matches in March and April for 25% of the teams??? Way to turn fans and potential athletes away from the game. Yeesh. The kids are wearing shorts and short sleeved jerseys. When spectators are similarly attired, in early April watching meaningful home matches, the game will flourish.

Your commentary makes little sense. On the one hand, you say the college 7s season should run from March to early June (at least I think that is what you are saying, it is tough to follow). On the other hand, you say the 15s season needs to be in April. So I guess we're supposed to play 7s in March, then switch to 15s for April and May, then back to 7s for this early June championship? Uh, ok. Great plan. You must be on the USAR BOD.

College sevens will take place during the college school year.

Don't let this one-off June competition confuse the issue.

Summer sevens for club mis-fits looking to take their shirts off with their girlfriend in attendance will of course continue. Long live Cape Fear, etc and the beer truck.

College sevens will be in the Fall leading to the annual international sevens season in December.

I'm pretty sure the college 7s season will be whenever NBC says it will be.

Don't think so. NBC doesn't know anything about rugby. Producing and airing two days worth of rugby is sticking their toe in the water. NBC isn't paying for the teams or stadium, they've just agreed to put it on TV on a sleepy summer weekend. This isn't a commitment to a season, its a trial.

They said, 'how about June' and the powers on hand said, 'sure'. Mistake by the way. This isn't some brainstorm, master-plan, its a trail.

If the crowds are poor, which they will be, right? The teams not very good, which they won't be, right?

NBC will say how can we fix this? If it can't be fixed...bye bye NBC. Hello, whichever platform or broadcaster is next. There is risk of failure in any approach, but June doesn't give college rugby the best chance.

June college rugby is a square peg in a round hole.

All of this brings us to the question of why hasn't USAR announced a seasonal plan for the college national championship of 7's and 15's ? Should not this have been a significant aspect of the college strategic plan?

Spring xv-Fall 7's/Rugby is a Spring Sport/West Coast Gangster or whatever your name is -- we get it. Message received. You think rugby should be a Spring sport.

In concept, I think most people would agree. Just like most would agree on the concept of world peace. But you pounding your fist on the table and saying rugby is a spring sport (repetitively, I might add) doesn't make it so.

Until you come up with a solution to that pesky weather problem in the other 65% of the rugby playing US, you're just a West Coast homer saying you know what's best for the rest of the country.

And judging by the rash of cancellations when there was some poor weather in the West, everyone got the idea that it's a lot easier to sit in a mild climate and throw stones, until you actually have to get your shorts dirty.

If we go spring there needs to be money to fly the northern teams south during the beginning of the season and then the southern teams nort later on. It's doable if there is a league that is dedicated to working together and making it all work for everyone as much as possible. It can be done. With sponsors/investors it could be done or by paying costs through dues. That's the solution for getting a spring season off the ground. The question is whether uscra or JC or someone else can make it happen. Lord knows usar cant.

That's my point, though - where is this money going to come from to fly these teams down for 4-5 matches? 4 trips @ 25 people, flights and hotels X number of teams (assuming it would only happen for D1 teams), that adds up to a lot of coin.

And then what happens to the lower division teams -- tough nuts, we don't have enough money -- play in the snow and ankle-deep mud? That's not the way to develop the grassroots rugby that everyone's clamoring for, and I don't think it's a realistic nor sustainable approach. There would have to be some big changes for that approach to work.

Not to mention, it puts the cold-weather teams at a competitive disadvantage -- training in a gym all winter, maybe a session or two out in the mud (unless they have access to a synthetic surface of an indoor turn field), then straight into league matches?

I think everyone getting on one season is a great idea, and something that would HAVE to happen if/when we get to a "varsity" level. Having 65% (or whatever it is) of the college clubs in the country playing a split-season is ridiculous.

But at this point in time, until we get some financial windfall, it's the only manageable way forward.

The opening sentence states:
"7's rugby is a summer sport".
Of course, you can play whenever you like.
If you are elite or a hopeful, you should be training all year round.
I didn't complain

The argument abut 15's rugby is silly.
Eventually common sense will prevail.
I'm not a left coast guy. i admire their rugby and their climate, but played all over the states, including North. I understand the climate issues and I understand what the game needs to grow:

A defined Spring season.

Play whenever you like, but I hope common sense prevails for meaningful home games (March/April) being played by all Colleges.
The current playoff structure for College and Club is ridiculous.

I forgot to add:

The game is played in shorts.

I could push a cart down a Dallas cul-du-sac all day long, but I'm not going to make the Olympic bobsled team.

In hockey they call it "ice time".

Things you "spring rugby" gospels are not considering...

-Many if not most schools are closed during spring break, at least the smaller schools which make up a majority of rugby playing schools in the US. That's 2 weekends where it will be tough to play rugby in an already short March/April period.

-Many if not most schools will not permit their "club" rugby team to play into finals or graduation, let alone after, which is when the doznes of playoff rounds would have to be held.

-Many if not most schools do not have access to indoor space and the ones that do are usually on a basketball court.

I'm strongly in favor of a group of schools getting together and forming a spring-only competition, which moves the game in the right direction. But there will still be competitive fall rugby leagues until that magical day comes when rugby is a varsity sport across the country.

a couple of points...as far as I understand the teams are having all expenses paid for by USA 7's travel, lodging, food.

If as I suspect the pools promote traditional rivalries then blow outs should not happen. ie Big 10, Pac 10, Ivy League. These pools would provide TV with the match ups they prob would like plus level of play should be about the same. This wil also allow the better schools Cal etc to advance and the better rugby will be in the final rounds.

Doubt NBC will air live matches prob just highlights from variuos matches 30 sec clips of Harvard v Yale, OSU v Mich, etc, then on sunday show the final live Cal v BYU or whoever.

Live stuff will be on Universal.

And why Columbus? Seems Col is easy to get to, reasonably priced for hotels etc, has a stadium and is within 500 miles of half the pop of the USA (lets hope they all show up).

I hear the ACC and SEC are holding their 7's tournaments in September. This is clever, that way their champions might get an invite to the nationals the following year.

Maybe this year might still be a straight battle between Cal & BYU, but just like what has happened at the IRB Sevens in the last few years, the minnows will get better and because of the way Sevens is, they will soon topple the professional programs!

As far as you know curious-on-looker? Are you reading/hearing something outside of the article?

Rumors around Vegas

maybe KNOW should have read HEARD..

65% of the teams are snow teams if you count the hundreds from the NE. 100's of D2-D3 teams. They should play when ever they like, who cares.

The only reason there is a MW team in the round of 16 is because they are provided a seed. They couldn't play their way into the comp. Take Army and Dartmouth out of consideration for a moment, and the same could be said of the Northeast. Even understanding that Army and Dartmouth haven't made but one final four appearance in recent years.

Here's the truth. The NE and MW teams are the worst teams in college rugby. The South teams, for many years the weakest region, have now passed them by. The South in fact is becoming a power region. The MARFU teams continue to be good.

In the West and Socal and Pacific good teams, capable of defeating the best of the MW and NE get left out of the nationals.

No one is going to pay for your travel. No one pays for the travel of western teams when they travel several hundred miles each weekend for a match. If these teams don't want to play Spring rugby, who cares, they aren't good teams, they don't play a role in deciding the college national champions. Those split season teams that want to play March road matches followed by April-May home matches will love the Spring season, those that love those Fall matches in front of a dozen fans will choose Fall, who cares.

Great match in snowy Provo between BYU and Utah. 3000 fans, no other outdoor sport competition. Field crew did a great job for the club sport match to happen, wonderful ad for college rugby.

Lead, follow or get out of the way.

Curious, you should have broken the story if you heard about it in Vegas.

West Coast Gangster, I'm guessing by your refrain of "who cares", you're advocating for the "we're the West, we'll tell you how it should be done" approach. Is that leadership, or following?

Do you think there's any causal relationship between the East and Midwest's poor national championship showings and the weather/disjointed season/lack of proper preparation?

Or, do you attribute it to "who cares, they suck"?

college...not my job man...i'd rather take pot shots at the guys that do write/ break the stories its more fun...plus I just report the "facts" as I make them up, hey I should work for USARFU...

so u made up the "all expenses will be paid" or what? Now I'm just confused. But i do get not wanting to be a news breaker

The info was from a reliable source and someone that has had good intell in the past...so I'm presuming its again good info.


Those teams from the Northeast, accept Army and Dartmouth and all those teams from the Mid-West would not make the post season at any time of the year in any region. They just aren't that good.

Ohio State was good a few years ago. Bowling Green is OK, but these aren't very good teams in comparison the rest of the country.

So in answer to your question, no I don't think the performance of these teams is because of the weather. It is their rugby, not the weather that needs improvement.

BTW, not from the PC.

Of course there is a causal tie to the lack of performance of Northern climes. It won't be long before you will be playing on equatorial lava fields, just bear with me.

Back in the day, hockey called it "ice time". Lately, indoor rinks have allowed American players (below the Mason-Dixon) to even make professional outfits. Those kids, of course moved North to pursue more ice time against better comp.

Sadly, rugby is played in shorts.
And until you pay into my scheme, I will keep your seasons short and cold.

I think the biggest issue will be the fact that this event is planned outside of the school year and a lot of college kids don't stay around for the summer. A month long 7's season in September with a series of regional tournaments this year seems to make the most sense. I'm also curious where the travel money is going to come from, hopefully they aren't relying on a future tournament sponsor to cover it.

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