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18 July 2012


Remember when the big debate was whether rugby should be played in the spring or the fall? Boy, have things gotten confusing in college rugby.

8 wins in a row for our age grade teams against international competition...

Wonder if BYU Tv is going to cover this Varsity Cup ?

Notre Dame had better bring some vasaline.

Interesting that penn state has not jumped into this.

Speaking of Penn State, if it gets the death nail sanction from the NCAA, what's the realistice chance some of the footballers convert to rugby?

Not a hater: Absolutely zero. Most will probably transfer to other schools.

What we're seeing with our development sides is truly amazing. 8 wins in a row is an amazing feat for the combined teams. Everyone should be commended, from the national team organizers down to, and especially, the new local youth development programs.

Varsity Cup? This just seems nonsensical. The teams will still be in good standing with USA Rugby with some competing in other competitions but others are not? It seems like another stop-gap, short sighted stab at a system that doesn't work in some people's eyes, but with no real long term direction for success.

Outside of the mess that is College Rugby, this has been a tremendous rummer for USA Rugby.

The Eagles were competitive in all three matches, the Junior All Americans go undefeated and the HS All Americans off to a great start on tour.

For the first time in a long time the national teams have a plan built around their players' abilities, something all American rugby players can emulate: physicality, toughness and a simple, straightforward system.

While the proposed Varsity Cup is not perfect it is encouraging to see colleges work independently to create competitive match-ups that can be commercially succesful. Hopefully the college conferences will do the same to develop a commercially succesful all-conference representative competition without waiting for USAR to get their act together. The US Eagle player pool must improve and regional representative teams are critical for success.

Did I just read three positive comments in a row?

Varsity Cup actually makes the CPD look like a good idea.

The team most hurt by being left out of the VC is Army. With the exception of the Army v Navy match, the Black Knights are going to playing an uninspired regular season, before meeting Davenport in the first round of the playoffs. It will be Davenport by 20 and good night Army for another season. The word is the VC coaches didn't want to deal with the Army coach.

I have on good info that Ark St got an offer to join and turned it down. They must think winning the USAR college championship will be easier with so many top teams to the VC. What a shame. The Red Wolves could have been helped by the higher profile the VC will attract. As is they will just need to keep playing their annual match with Life. Cal, BYU, Military Academies, Ivy league, ND and (Ark St)...Sesame Street, which one of these things is not like the others. What a fudge up!


So trying things like the CPD and VC are bad ideas in your view. Why? Because they didn't work or might not work?

If these teams want to get together and try stuff, what does it hurt. I realize a bunch of teams pulled out of the CPD after the first year and more after the second, but what was hurt by trying? It sounds like some of the schools still like the CPD and want to keep in going in some form. Is this a bad things if they want to keep it going, while others want to start something new like the varsity cup? I don't think so.

Explain the alternative Dud. Have a D1 of 150 teams, most not belonging? We tried this. Let USAR figure it all out? Do nothing? What is your plan Dud? Lay it out for Cortez and Battle maybe it will be the new best plan.

@Not a Hater and Seargent Hulka. Most of the scholarship players will leave. There's plenty of players on the football roster that would stay because the school will honor their scholarship and they arent going pro anyways. Or because they were walk-ons and love PSU. Either way, if the death penalty comes down there will be plenty of superior athletes for the rugby team to pick up if the rugby team's leadership is adept enough to take advantage. To answer your original question, Not a Hater, the chances are small.

@college fan

My position has not changed since the hastily launched CPD. Have a business plan and work it. Just calling something "premier" or "varsity", getting a logo that looks like something from a clip art collection and launching it on a podcast or blog is not going to get NBC, ESPN, Fox Sports, Subway, Visa, Gatorade, Nike, etc to jump in bed with you.

The way forward is to return to the original D1 format with modifications so that big games are played on college campuses with the semi-finals and finals in a MLS stadium like they did in Salt Lake. Have a sizzle reel, press kit, sales presentations for both broadcasters and sponsors and have those decision makers at the campus sweet 16 and elite 8 matches and at the MLS stadium semis and final. Point out the marketing value they will get (field marketing at college campuses & TV advertising at semis and finals).

Assuming someone at USA Rugby is doing something similar to pitch the Eagles, you would think there would be a lot of overlap to create your college rugby sales kit, but I have no idea how big of a s#!t show the Boulder office is.

Why does this strike me as Jack Clark taking his ball and going home?

Just informed by DirecTV that the Super 15 semi-finals will be pay for view only on the MLS package.

What a f--king ripoff!

I believe Kevin Swyren came to rugby at St.Mary's after the school dropped football.

True but St.. Mary's has Tim OBrien running their show.

More importantly, if PSU were to drop their program, there would be a feeding frenzy of coaches from around the country trying to recruit their players, as happened at Southern Methodist. When St. Mary's dropped football...not so much.

St Mary's was a 1-AA school for football and not a very good one. Kids who are playing 1-AA ball are either not elite football players or have academic/off-the-field issues. At SMC, you can be pretty sure their players were the former. Scholarship kids at Penn St all have NFL aspirations. There is certainly a chance they could pick up some walk-on football players in such a scenario, though.

As for St Mary's having Tim O'Brien running the show, Penn St doesn't exactly run a poor rugby program either. I've talked to former scholarship athletes at PSU who were well aware of the rugby team at Penn St and had respect for them and the way they trained. They have a status on campus somewhere between club and varsity and would be in better position than most college rugby teams to take advantage of such a situation.

The Penn State recruiting brochure states: "The Penn State Rugby Teams get as much University support as any rugby program in the country, including varsity programs. Penn State Rugby is not a club sport, it is a “Team Sport.” This means that rugby is now in the Athletic Department and allows us access to many of the resources and facilities that our varsity programs enjoy."

If they get the death penalty - big if IMO - I think they'd have a chance to pick up walk-ons that love Penn State and veterans who no longer have those NFL aspirations. Probably a pool of 15-20 guys, but if they got 5 of them...

The pool is probably bigger than than that (lots and lots of walkons at that sort of school) but I think picking up 5 might be realistic if the rugby staff is sufficiently aggressive. Not sure where I put the odds of a death penalty.

Yeah, St. Mary's got ONE player after a WHOLE TEAM disbanded. PSU will have to seriously pound the pavement. Penn St. rugby could recruit the subject players, but be certain that the football players are most certainly making phone calls to other football programs right now. 1,000:1 odds that a PSU footballer would stay on campus to play rugby rather than transfer to Tulsa or Akron to play football.

"The Penn State recruiting brochure states: The Penn State Rugby Teams get as much University support as any rugby program in the country, including varsity programs."

If this is true they are the most underachieving team in college rugby.

"1,000:1 odds that a PSU footballer would stay on campus to play rugby rather than transfer to Tulsa or Akron to play football."

I don't know about that. The good ones will be picked up by other BCS schools, or good non-BCS schools (the likes of Boise St or TCU). But say you're a senior, actually trying to get a degree, you're not a starter, and your scholarship is still there, the only reason to go to some place like Akron or Tulsa is if you REALLY need to have football in your life.

I don't think anyone would reject another football program in favor of PSU rugby, but I do think that PSU rugby would have a chance at those who would already reject another football program.

@college, you would be correct. PSU gets admission spots as well so can get anyone they want in. They could be right there with Cal/BYU/etc. Not in as rugby rich of a region as those schools and Xavier/Gonzaga kids have to pay out-of-state tuition but they should be closer than they are.

To share with you a very good article!

Congrats to my boys in Daytona Beach for winning the South 7's!

Gonga Mutu!

Rumors say that Penn State football is done tomorrow AM

They will get heavy sanctions but not the death penalty. Would not be surprised to see a TV ban.


It will take Penn St a decade to recover from this and it will hurt all their sports, to include rugby.

from Goff.

Fry has since signed with the Manawatu Turbos. He will finish out the season with Old Boys, but then will make the move to Palmerston North. The Turbos play in what used to be called the NPC, and is now called the ITM Cup. It's a huge step up for Fry, as he will now play in the level just below Super Rugby.

Goff was only 5 days behind ThisIsAmericanRugby on that one. Although the Goff piece lacked the normal absurd amount of typos Goff is known for so maybe they spent 5 days editing?

"Over the past decade, Cal has claimed 7 USARFU titles, BYU 2, and Air Force the 2003 crown. The Varsity Cup 7 collectively captured 25 of 40 semifinal places, including all 4 berths in 2005 and 3 of 4 places on 4 more occasions. BYU has not missed the final four since 2004; Cal played in 9 of 10; while Navy and Utah each made 3 appearances and Air Force 2."

And why won't this be the real college national championship? Because Life Chiropractic College isn't in it? A team that lost to both BYU and Cal in 2012. Give the VC some of that CRC treatment and it will be a great sport product.

ND v Navy
Utah v BYU
Cal v Dartmouth
AF v Navy
Dartmouth v AF
Cal v BYU

Exciting match-ups capable of drawing viewers. Several good on campus stadiums. Time for advance marketing. This is college rugby's best chance.

Too bad West Point isn't in that line-up. Some National Guard sponsorship money might have followed...

What does National Guard Sponsorship have to do with Army? Other than both entities being part of our military.

college fan - No one is saying it won't be a great product but is the point of a national championship to find out who the best team was last year, or who the best team is this year?

Ark State has been Division 1 for a half decade and they finished within a try of BYU. How long has Life Undergrads been around, two years? What about Davenport? You have to imagine they will continue to improve, so long term I think it is realistic to say that the D1A champ will continue to be the top team.

Furthermore, shouldn't it be a challenge to advance to the finals? I don't know how they will do the seeding, but playing Cal a week after playing Life is a little different than playing Cal a week after playing Notre Dame. I don't want to make an outlandish statement but if BYU or Cal had ND in the first round and anyone but Utah in the second, they probably wouldn't need to field their top XV until the final.

It's not a real national championship in the same way the CRC isn't a real national championship. It's invite only. It excludes an open competition forum. It doesn't have all the best teams, just all the best names. If profit is the main goal, then I wish them well. It's too bad that competing against the best college rugby teams isn't the most important thing.

College Fan,

When did Cal play Life in XVs in 2012? They didn't and if they had, they likely would have lost. Life and the other varsity programs are quickly gaining ground on Cal and BYU and IMO this year they will have a better team than either. If all the best teams played in the same division for the same title, Life would have to be the favorite.

Additionally, programs like Lindenwood and Davenport are gaining ground and I'm sure Notre Dame College and Wheeling Jesuit won't be far behind. The varsity schools that offer scholarships will out-recruit Cal long term precisely because they offer scholarships and Cal does not. Cal will still have a strong recruiting base for upper-middle class kids who want a great education and great rugby coaching, but other kids when faced with the choice between taking out student loans to pay for Cal (particularly out of state kids) or getting their education paid for, will choose getting it paid for.

Who there Regal. Let's remember that, while Cal doesnt offer scholarships, they do offer admission to a top university to mostly in-state kids who then pay in-state tuition. I hope you agree that is better than a scholarship from any school named thus far and will continue to be the best deal in college rugby until a school like ND can offer the same or more.

Better for whom? An upper-middle class kid from Sacramento or the East Bay? Sure. For an out of state kid who can't afford it and who simply wants a degree while playing quality rugby? Not so much. And increasingly, there is talent being developed out of California and Utah, with Hawaii being the leader of that.

Out of the kids on the HSAAs who will be incoming freshman in 2012-2013, I have the following:

Anthony Salaber - Cal
Tama Paogofie-Buyten - Lindenwood
Isaiah Chinen - Lindenwood
Nu'u Aiava - Life
Zach Bonte - UCLA

Not sure about the rest, but none of the others are going to Cal. Also notice where the 3 Hawaiian kids are going.

Yes but that's not really proof of anything. We wont know who is right until a kid is offered both and chooses one or the other. Until I see a kid take a scholarship to Lindenwood or the like over admission to Cal, I'll believe I am right. I agree though, that Cal's offers mainly go to Cal kids or out of state kids who have the means to pay. That's a luxury of Cal's since they don't see any need to do much recruiting outside of California's deep pool of high school talent.


An impressive class, even without scholarships. Its odd, but the thing which strikes me is this is the real advantage of varsity status. The rugby team's website on the university athletic website, with the releases all professionally structured. No typos, misspellings, or the usual rugbyness.


it seems like there are more kids who played USA age-grade in this Cal class. The typical Cal rugby recruits are more football player than rugby player. Some of these kids played three sports which doesn't leave much time left in the year for rep rugby.

No rugby coaches interviewed here...


Just to be clear, are you suggesting that guys like Paogofie-Buyten and Aiava weren't good enough to play at Cal? If so, LOL.

I didn't read "college" say that. What is true is that if you are looking to go to an elite private school, think: Ivies or Stanford or a great public school, think: Michigan, UVa, Cal, UCLA etc. You are not going to go to a small parochial school, much less Davenport or Life.

The good news is there are far more candidates for the Davenport's, Ark St's and Life's than the expensive hard to get into colleges and universities.

If you are LDS and BYU wants you, you aren't going to Life, you are going to be a Cougar. On the other hand, if you don't have many acceptance options and not a blue blood, but you are a stud players, a scholarship to Life is as perfect as it gets.

Stud players with no grades or money go where they go. Good players concerned with the degree quality, with education funds, go where they go.

The quality of all these groups is improving. Cal isn't going to make inroads in the Life, Davenport or parochial school market and these school won't be stealing players away from Dartmouth or the military academies.

College fan,

Yes, your argument is correct and is basically what I was saying. College was insistent that Cal was the best option available for all:

"Let's remember that, while Cal doesnt offer scholarships, they do offer admission to a top university to mostly in-state kids who then pay in-state tuition. I hope you agree that is better than a scholarship from any school named thus far and will continue to be the best deal in college rugby until a school like ND can offer the same or more."

While it is for some kids, for others it is not as you neatly lined out. However, I think one of the key things is that some good players who may not have played college rugby before or would have done so at some obscure school (in rugby terms) are now playing for the Lifes and Lindenwoods of the world. That's good for rugby overall in this country, but it's not good for Cal's traditional position as top dog.

I'd also be remiss not to mention that some kids who may have struggled to pay out of state tuition in the past but went to Cal anyway because it was really the only place to get quality rugby coaching may choose other schools in the future. That's not to say that Cal doesn't have a very strong base to recruit from going forward, but I don't think it's as strong as a couple of the other schools.

Yea don't see how you read that regal. My point is that few to no kids will go to cal over the schools you have mentioned. I believe they'd rather be crushed by student loans then refuse cal. Cal currently has the best package to offer a high school student by a lot. I don't see how that is debatable. The kids who go to life and similar schools would never be offered admission to cal because they would fail out soon after. I dont think even JC has that kind of pull. I don't like cal and find it frustrating that they have this nearly unbeatable recruiting advantage but there it is

@ RE

"That's good for rugby overall in this country, but it's not good for Cal's traditional position as top dog."

I completely agree that having more and better rugby college opportunities will be good for US rugby.

However I wouldn't be too quick to end Cal's importance to US rugby. Lets see how the next RWC turns out but they had 7 players and an assistant coach at the most reason RWC. Two players on USOC contracts at present. US rugby is in its fourth decade of crowning college champions, Cal won 7 of 10 the first decade, 9 of 10 the next, 8 of 10 the following and have won 2 of 3 so far this decade. Now I admit this VC vs USAR thing is going to cloud the record keeping somewhat, but Cal isn't going away and they seem to have an interest in the 7's game as well. I was impressed with Cal at the CRC, they weren't far off the best team Dartmouth and much better in the 3th-4th place game than Life. Now its 7's so too much shouldn't be made of any one match or tournament.

Here is what I really think will happen over the next phase. More attention will be provided college rugby because of the Olympic status. Those schools with strong Olympic interest will better support rugby. Cal with their team now part of this several hundred million dollar high performance center will potentially do a better job developing their players. Scholarships? No. The best recruits? Good, but maybe not the best. Lots of development resources? Yes.

All the schools with scholarships and or development resources will do really well in this next phase.

In the following phase, maybe 5 or so years off. Don't be surprised if some name brand school comes out of nowhere with a great team, combining big school resources and scholarships. This will be really good for US rugby.


That's simply not the case. You can look to other sports like football where a kid has a walk-on offer (Preferred Walk On) to Cal or a scholarship offer to a place like Sac St and the majority choose the scholarship to Sac St. Also, the idea that marginal students would fail out of Cal is fairly preposterous, assuming you know about the types of kids that Cal football (and other sports) takes and that Cal rugby gets the same academic support that Cal football does.

Agree to disagree. If you have the academic marks for Michigan and they want you as a walk on, 9 of 10 kids aren't going to take a scholly from say Bowling Green.

Ridiculous comments about football walk-ons for a rugby blog, but I'll bite. My high school friend passed up a partial scholarship at Kansas St. for a full scholarship at Marshall, when Marshall was D1-AA. And his parents didn't need him to have any scholarship. Players wanna play.

"Agree to disagree. If you have the academic marks for Michigan and they want you as a walk on, 9 of 10 kids aren't going to take a scholly from say Bowling Green."

Go post that on a message board like Rivals and see the response. That is straight up incorrect and the reality is the reverse in that maybe 1 in 10, if that, take the Michigan PWO offer over the full ride to BGSU.

for some reason "college" took up my fight and decided to respond. Though it was not my post, I agree with it.

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