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09 July 2013

Comments

I heard college baseball and softball and even LAX is moving to the Fall because "most players want a fair shot at a national title". NOT! Those sports aren't managed by dumbsh*ts.

http://www.omaha.com/article/20110618/CWS/706189786

"College baseball isn't fair to Big Ten schools, Delany says. And for 10 years, he's fought like hell to level the playing field."

Commercial viability is a red herring on this issue. There's little ability for northeast and Midwest teams to make 15s commercially viable in the winter and spring. There is great potential for them to make 7s commercially viable in the spring. That means moving away from winter/spring 15s playoffs.

LOL
I am the commissioner for nine team DIAA Mid America Conference rugby. We are part of the fall rugby movement. I would be happy to discuss the seasonality issue with you in a calm, rational manner. We might even agree to disagree. I am a two finger typist so I'd prefer a phone call.

Roger Mazzarella
419-308-4384
rmazzar@bgsu.edu

Roger, is that post directed at me? Because if you read what I wrote, I am 100% advocating fall 15s for conferences like yours and pointing out that anyone that brings terms like "commercially minded" into the discussion as an argument for winter/spring 15s with respect to midwest and northeast conferences is off base.

The reasoning for rugby to be a spring sport and not fall is very simple. Competition. The fall has two very well positioned field sports in football and soccer. This means that these sports dominate administration attention, dollars, field allocations, etc. In the spring rugby would only be competing with lacrosse.

The formula is simple for collegiate programs to decide.

Fall = Keg League
Spring = Competitive Rugby

RE:Commish - no, it was to LOL. If I'm reading LOL correctly he seems to be saying mocking the fall move. Look at Pull Your Head Out's comment - same thing. My offer to discuss is open to him as well. I don't understand PYHO's obsession with this keg league thing. That went out with hair sprayed bangs, Saturday Night Fever, bell bottoms, ABBA and everything else in the 80's.

Every team has the ability to play a full and complete 15's schedule in the fall. The spring window is not big enough for northern teams to fit in a complete season plus a playoff. What dont you understand?

Either the other teams can get on board with a Fall 15's season or we will see a major split in college rugby that will last for many years to come, because outside of some miracle investor, I dont think the northern teams are going to switch back any time soon.

And the commercial argument for 15's in the spring is a joke. 7's is what broadcasters are looking show more of, not 15's. It has more commercial potential than any 15's match, its faster paced, its got Olympic ties, and people outside the inner circle of rugby actually watch it and new fans can understand and learn the game at a quicker rate.

You can have your two team spring Varsity Cup. And I'll take the rest participating in spring sevens season and we'll see who gets to where they want to go quicker.

No team in the midwest has made a championship bid in 20 years. The weather has nothing to do with how shitty their teams are. Their rugby will be shitty in the Fall as well. I can't imagine anyone caring when they play their third tier championship.

Men's rugby will never be an NCAA sport given title IX. Varsity Cup is the only commercially viable college fifteens competition. If a college fifteens side wants to play in a commercially viable league they will need to impress the Varsity Cup management group and get invited in. USAR will run national championships that will not be commercially viable.

My proposal is simple. Split the 15s competition between fall and spring.

Fall = Keg League
Spring = Competitive Rugby

Simple.

Commercial viability for Division 2? There was one? Midwest and northeast rugby is rooted in the fall. There is no real commercial potential for any Div. 2 sport (when was the last time you watched a regular season D2 football or basketball game on ESPN? Who won this year's NCAA D2 football championship? Yeah, I don't know either.), so I don't see the anxiety in keeping a schedule that's been set for 30+ years. Even through April, rugby teams have matches cancelled, or have matches in awful conditions. There's just not enough time in the spring for a full 15's schedule spring schedule in the Midwest/Northeast.

PYHO - If it is that simple then invest the 10 cents on a phone call and explain it to me. I've you given my name & contact info.It is time to man up and make the call. The season split is what we had and it never worked.

Pull Your Head -

What teams would you like to see playing in your competitive 15's spring season.

Do you want actual Varsity teams playing in the "Varsity Cup" like Life, Lindenwood, Davenport, Notre Dame College and Wheeling Jesuit?

Or do you want "name brands" clubs like Texas, Clemson, The University of Notre Dame, Dartmouth and Navy (if you consider them name brand) getting blown out by 100 points to Cal and BYU?

Include the actual Varsity teams in your argument an you'd actually have a worthy point.

And the only actual really big college sports name brands the Varsity Cup has is Notre Dame and UCLA. Cal is 2nd tier in the bigger picture of sports when it comes to being recognized as name brand, but is probably top 20. Texas was a good Club name brand to add for next year though. So they got that going for them, "which is nice"

But BYU, Navy, Airforce, and the rest of them outside the two or three I named are not big sports name brand teams, so the snobbery on inclusion to that tournament baffles me.

These teams are in a tough position. The weather is bad, so they feel forced to make a decision which most know isn't in the best interest of growing the profile of their rugby. Changing to Fall XV's is the easy call and it will dome these teams to being left out of the March, April, May spotlight. Because a few random 7's tournaments leading to nothing, because most can't get into the CRC will make these teams nationally invisible. They are no longer part of the conversation of who are the best college rugby teams.

Too Bad - Who says moving to Fall isn't in our best interest?

-It allows us to develop our players in a consistent manner through seasonal progression WITH AN ACTUAL OFF SEASON, rather than stressing players physically and mentally with nearly 9 straight months of competition. If playing competitive rugby in both academic semesters is so great why don't Spring teams plays a Fall season?
-It allows us focus on recruiting prospective high school student-athletes in the Fall when they are making college decision and not focused on their own (spring) season
-It allows us to play a complete Sevens season, opening with LVI and closing with CRC, with league competition and series in between. Do you presume that these leagues won't be creating actual sevens competitions to fill the gap?
-It allows for the (re)development of Spring select side play that won't interfere with league 15s play.

Why are people like Roger M - who actually knows what it is like to deal with seasonality - shouted down while buffoons with no connection to college rugby treated like their opinion matters?

Roger,
To follow up with "too bads" comments, what does your program plan to do with the remainder of the school year/season? I believe I understand your dilemma but curious how your program can develop and challenge on a national level with such an abbreviated season. with all sincerity, best of luck to you.

Wrong, only very few teams moving to Fall XV's are going to get invited to the CRC. Their Spring season just became a joke.

Time is much the same. Sept, Oct, Nov.

OR

March, April. May. Knowing you can always get some travel competitions and indoor training in Jan, Feb.

The Fall offers no such flexibility. Students aren't coming back early in Aug at 100 schools. Sept will be crap standard.

This won't help the bad rugby these teams are already playing. It is only going to decrease their standard, which is of no real concern. Someone said it above, none of these teams are part of the national top performers so it ready doesn't matter what they do.

People that think those who want to to play in the fall are of no significance, sure are making a lot of noise!

You do you're thing and we'll do ours and then we'll see what happens huh?

@NBR

I would like to see varsity programs without brand names compete in the Varsity Cup. I would also like to see them play 7s in the fall.

Fall = Competitive 7s + Keg League 15s
Spring = Competitive 15s + 30 pack 7s

How does Syracuse University field such an outstanding lacrosse team in the spring? The University of Maine has an excellent baseball team, track and field has a great history in the Midwest.

But it is too cold to develop collegiate rugby teams for a spring schedule? I really don't get that though I definitely have a Pacific Coast bias. It seems to me that some great programs (Army, Penn State) have dealt with the cold pretty well, so it is too bad the rank and file (apparently) wants to play rugby while the country watches football.

The offer is still there to discuss. The phone hasn't rung all day. The silence actually speaks volumes.

To the hardcore spring 15's crowd: When are the schools interested in this move supposed to play 7's?

Roger

Nobody cares if you and a collection of underperforming collegiate rugby clubs want to play in the fall. Enjoy the keg.

Pacific Coast
Typical comments from a left coaster.
With no fields or training facilities open in January or February, how the hell can genuine teams that are Rec Sports compete? We are not all keg teams you know.

The Maine baseball and track and field teams, and the Syracuse lacrosse teams, obviously have good facilities that they can use all year round.

Your ignorance is forgivable because you are probably looking over university sponsored field that has never seen snow!

We have to train in a parking lot in January.

Like I said, play in the fall and enjoy the keg, or play ice hockey. Just stop complaining. Nobody cares who plays in the spring.

EDIT
Nobody who plays in the spring cares.

Roger- are the d1aa schools following suit?

PYHO
You keep going on about it - really loudly.

We will do our own thing - have fun with Boulder!

Good night Jack, its late on the east coast!

Roger and the spring rugby supporters both make valid points, Syracuse lax plays in a dome (at least they did when my brother played them)

To call what the Mazzarella family did over 30 or so years keg league is not even close to fair. They have dedicated time and effort to having a strong consistently strong program.

Rugby has a lot of issues, there are people trying to have solutions that fit their needs like varsity cup, fall rugby, crc, etc.

I think rugby has tried to fit a basketball model (big tournament) into a sport that required football style rest. Some teams are top dogs, they don't often lose.

It is OK for teams to play in conducive weather to build their programs. I don't see anyone trying to force their way on anyone. Spring weather can be savage in the north and east as it was this year and 2011, other years like 2010 and 2012 it's quite mild, fall is always pretty mild

Roger may have a point. After spending 30 years pursuing a championship they have failed. This year a warm weather team with no history wins it all. It must be because Central Florida is in a warm weather state. Couldn't be coaching.

Like I said, enjoy the keg.

In my college experience there was only one game at which there was a keg present on the sideline, it was my first game of rugby and it was February 1991. I played on a team that included former D-I scholarship athletes and beat the likes of Clemson, ECU (who were the reiging North Carolina Champs) and tying George Mason who, at the time, was a contender every year in the Potomac Rugby Union and old East Coast Rugby Union. Anyway it was enjoyable to retire from the match and have a cold draught.

For years, the west has had all the advantages of the climate. The cold weather teams are simply saying enough and doing what is best for them. Thats why there is so much noise coming from people like PYHO.

Obsession with a single national champion is silly for 15s. No USAR managed 15s National Champioships matter for the colleges. Varsity Cup will set the standard with an invitational format similar to the invitational nature of college football bowl. Clubs should focus on winning their conference. Neighboring conferences can create a regional Champioship. National championships run by USAR benefit no club. They create costs and do not improve quality of play. If a club is serious they should win promotion to the first division, improve the quality of their program, win their first division consistently, grow their fan base, develop financial strength. Then join Varsity Cup.

speaking of Linwood, I saw that they had a guy in the College Bowling Championship last night on CBSsports tv.

Wisconsin created this in Spring 2013. It was awesome.
http://wisconsinrfu.org/collegiate/mens/sevens.asp

There certainly are a lot of confident comments being made here about what's best for collegiate rugby but I'd like to point out that this article is virtually only about D2 Men's Collegiate rugby. I can speak from firsthand experience that this seasonal shift in Championship dates was born out of at-length discussion, pros and cons, and tremendous input from all the existing 12 D2 Men's Collegiate conferences. Wanting to be as inclusive as possible, the D2 commissioners also heard out people from the Deep South, SoCal, Texas, and Eastern Rockies, all regions that are potentially forming D2 conferences for the Fall that previously had been either NSCRO or D1 only. In the end, the commissioners represent the teams and and what the teams collectively wanted was a competitive season played out through a championship with no interruption. For Midwest, Northeast, and most Mid-Atlantic teams, this isn't tenable in the Spring as there is still snow oftentimes in April. As it was, 9 out of the 12 existing D2 conferences had ALREADY determined their champion (AQ) by early November last year and 2 of the 3 who didn't only put off their conference Final Four to the Spring in hopes that they would crown a champion who was most worthy heading right into Nationals in late April. The conference I'm commissioner of, the WIIL Conference, was one of those two conferences and we'd much rather have played through to our championship and national playoff last Fall. After the conference commissioners decided to petition USA Rugby to move the championship dates, our proposal was put forth to the CMC by Rich Cortez. The CMC also had healthy debate about the merits of this seasonal shift, but in the end, saw the benefit and desire by the D2 collegiate conferences.

What this means for D2 Collegiate Men's rugby players and teams now is that we'll all begin in August or September for 15s, we'll have national playoffs on November 23rd and 24th at four regional sites (below the Mason Dixon line for obvious weather reasons), everyone will have the weekend of Thanksgiving off, we'll have a national Final Four on December 7th and 8th and that will conclude the D2 15s season. In the Spring, all teams and conferences are free to play developmental 15s, competitive 7s, go on a tour to a foreign country or for the student athlete who needs to catch up on studies or get a job to help pay for tuition, they can now do so without feeling like they might be letting their team down. There are some teams that have already said they are excited to play 7s only in the Spring while others have said they would like to form Spring 15s conferences with similar schools for a "friendly" Spring championship. Some teams even have the resources to play both 15s AND 7s. All of this is good for the D2 men's collegiate rugby player which is what we should be focused on, not TV contracts, politics and egos.

I'm free to talk about the entire process (since it has been going on since late April) with anyone who cares to chat about it.

Todd Streeter
WIIL Conference Commissioner
toddstreeter@yahoo.com

@Pull Your Head Out states:

"The reasoning for rugby to be a spring sport and not fall is very simple. Competition. The fall has two very well positioned field sports in football and soccer. This means that these sports dominate administration attention, dollars, field allocations, etc. In the spring rugby would only be competing with lacrosse.

The formula is simple for collegiate programs to decide.

Fall = Keg League
Spring = Competitive Rugby"


Clearly there needs to be some reconsideration of these points...

Can we at least agree on one thing? 7s is currently the most marketable code of rugby we have going? We're being gifted exposure by USA 7s in the CRC and Las Vegas 7s. NBC is buying into the Olympic push, and is gobbling up broadcasting rights for 7s events, including airing iRB Sevens Series and 7s World Series on Universal Sports (yes, I understand not everyone has access to it, but anyone with a DirecTv sports package gets it...and some of it has been on NBCS).

Can we also agree that John Q. Public couldn't give a rat's arse less about senior club 7s championships? They don't care who or what Belmont Shore, NYAC or the Chicago Lions are...they want to know collegiate sports.

Given those two points shouldn't be too hard to agree on, why in the mother loving frack would you put collegiate 7s up against collegiate football in the fall?

Answer: you wouldn't, unless you can't see past your own parochial interests, or are still hanging on to the shred of hope that 15s is the one true code, and will ultimately what puts rugby on the map in the U.S.

Pacific Coast –
Are you so ignorant that you don’t understand the difference between “developing college teams” and people saying they cant get in a full season in during the spring time? Most teams can’t get on university fields until mid to late March. And probably half graduate in the first two weeks of May. There is a 6 to maybe 8 week window of playing for Northern teams in the spring.

@Inigo

You can't make much of a meal from a collegiate 7s competition commercially to be honest. The fall should be for competitive 7s for everyone with the CRC "invitational" being the big national broadcast for the chosen few. I don't see conference 7s tourneys getting on TV for 2 days during any season of the year.

The other reality is that the 15s game is the money maker for all major rugby unions in the world and the IRB. You may say well who cares about the rest of the world, but you would be short sided. The pathway for USA Rugby to fully fund the national 15s and 7s sides (men and women) is for the team to be competitive enough to cash in on playing tier 1 nations. If the Eagles could compete and had exciting athletes to display, they would be cashing in on the 80K attendances and broadcast dollars that come with playing at Twickers, Millennium Stadium, Stade France, etc. This revenue is what keeps the SH teams from going broke. You're never going to finance the national teams with collegiate 7s on NBC.

EDIT
short sighted

@ Pull Your Head Out

I was unaware that collegiate 7s on NBC existed to finance the national teams? Perhaps it is time for the Eagles programs to find a more self-sustainable financial model?

Also, while I don't disagree with you that in rugby playing countries, 15s is a huge revenue stream, they do seem to lack one major sport that is king of all sports in the US: Football. To ignore that fairly significant fact seems to be a bit perplexing.

Again, this article explains what is changing with the D2 Collegiate Men's championship structure. At present, the 12 existing D2 conferences are ALL east of the Mississippi River (Gateway Conference is St. Louis area). This push was made by the 12 conferences who are affected by the historical split season.

@Todd

What does American football have to do with USA Rugby generating revenue playing tests in the NH in the fall?

@All
Every club should do what they think is best. The best clubs in the nation have accepted that fall is for 7s and spring 15s. If a club wants to compete at the highest level, they will need to get on this schedule regardless of the weather in their area. The rest can play keg league rugby with Roger's lads.

@ Pull Your Head Out:
Please pull your head out of where ever it is. This conversation concerns D2 college rugby. Not sure why your comparing national team revenues and 80,000 seat stadiums when we're talking about Salisbury St. and Central Florida type teams. There will never be commerical revenue for any D2 rugby. Ever.

@PYHO

The 15s RWC is the only thing that keeps the wallet flush for the iRB. That's what the rest of the world lives off of in between cycles.

Test matches that bring in 80k fans really only happen for the top 5 teams, and they don't combat football, basketball, hockey and baseball. They contend with soccer, cricket, AFL and NRL...maybe GAA?

How many fans were in the stands for soccer in Portland last night?

We're not talking about funding the national teams here, though, we're talking about collegiate exposure and reasons for college administrations to buy-in to the sport. 15s is not the answer for colleges...it's 7s, pure and simple.

Just because you don't see them getting on tv doesn't mean that the opportunities aren't there. They are, in fact, there. Some conferences you might already know about, for whatever reasons, have been told they have broadcast opportunities if they are not holding their 7s competitions in the fall, combatting collegiate football. I'm not making this up.

And, at the end of the day, as Todd Streeter mentioned, to date, this only impacts DII collegiate men, because they've decided collectively that this is the season that works best for them.

@ Pull Your Head Out

American football means there is nothing viable that American rugby can put on TV that will compete in the Fall, 15s or 7s. Could certainly put something on tape delay for a Tuesday night perhaps, but football is king on Saturdays and Sundays in terms of television dollars for late August through December/January.

That being said, television dollars have zero to do with D2 Collegiate Men's 15s seasonality. D2 players aren't playing so they can get on TV, they are playing because they love the game. Webcasting has proven to be a godsend and can be done a lot cheaper and offers a much wider audience than tradition TV channels. The D2 conference commissioners aren't concerned with getting their teams on TV, they are concerned with making their clubs better and winning matches.

Just my opinion, but if TV revenue is going to be factored in, rugby has a much better chance with an American public to market 7s. It is quick paced, a tournament can be played over a weekend, and you can have a 2-3 month series. 15s, which definitely is near and dear to my heart, is simply not prime for marketing in the American TV market. It is much tougher to understand for John Q. Averageguy flipping through the channels, especially when compared to 7s. Ironically, I wouldn't mind seeing a pro 15s circuit in the Spring/Summer because if it was played on Sunday, then my college players could go watch the matches (we are close to Chicago and Milwaukee).

Just my two cents, which many have, but I'd like to keep the focus on what this article really is about, D2 collegiate men's rugby conferences and teams playing a competitive season they all felt was necessary, positive, and good for competition moving forward. Most conferences already did play their entire league season in the Fall and all that has been changed is adding two weekends of playoffs culminating in a championship in November and early December in moderate climate states.

@ Pull Your Head Out

In regards to you continuing to call Fall 15s "keg rugby", I guess for D2 Collegiate Men, I can't exactly concur. Salisbury, Towson, UW-Whitewater, UM-Duluth, and many other multiple Final Four participants/champions from recent years have played their 15s league season in the Fall. If they play "keg rugby", I'd love to get my hands on those kegs to market them nationally.

After being tops of D2 for many years they should move up a division. D2 is primarily a division for clubs unwilling to move up.

Pull Your Head Out - "You're never going to finance the national teams with collegiate 7s on NBC."

And do you think you're going to finance the National team with one 15's match on NBC?

Last I checked, the "Club Cup" (aka the "Varsity Cup") left USA Rugby so they could control their own money. They then promptly followed their first year up by signing a deal with the same group that runs and promotes the CRC. - I wonder if those boys are doing that for free?

How much money from that "Club Cup" is going to the National team again? I must have missed the memo on that one.

Do you boys have reading comprehension problems? Morons. Must be the weather.

@ Dumb Dumb U

"After being tops of D2 for many years they should move up a division. D2 is primarily a division for clubs unwilling to move up."

That is arguably the least factual comment made in this string. Congrats! Most D2 teams are at schools of 5-10K students, some have coaches some don't, some play on campus, some at community parks.

"D2 is primarily a division for clubs unable to produce the collective resources needed to sustain competitiveness year in and year out" would have been a more accurate quote.

D2 = Keg League?

I am not really sure where any of this conversation is going..... love the passion though.

If you have 5 to 10K students, you should be able to move up to D1AA after many years of success in D2. Many teams on the west coast have done it, so it should be able to be done on the east coast too. OPPS! Forgot about the weather. RATS!

@PYHO
Dont forget that most Northern teams in D1A and D1AA are going to a fall only 15's Keg League as well. So even if the D2 teams moved up and agreed with your absurd comments, they'd still be playing in the Fall Keg leagues somewhere.

Why dont you go back to your "who cares" argument.

Seems like you west coasters really seemed offended by all of this. Have no fear, you still hav Cal & BYU playing in your 15's Club Cup National Championship in the spring.

No offense taken on the left coast!

Like I said, enjoy the keg.

Olympic Rugby, aka Sevens, is not going to benefit from college schedule changes. Very small chance that any if these D2 colleges will produce an Eagles 7s player. The US player pathway is non existent. New approach to elite athletes needed at the college and senior level to grow the elite player pool. USAR is too caught up justifying CIPP extortion to actually grow the game. USAR more interested in growing staff salaries than quality if rugby.

I can think of four guys that came from DII schools in Virginia that went on to play Eagles 7s and 15s: Hightower (William & Mary), Bell (George Mason), Conyer (James Madison), Andres (James Madison), and Sucher (James Madison).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Todd Clever play at the University of Nevada (Reno)? They are listed as D2 on their website. James "Guppy" Gillenwater who played for the Eagles 7s team for quite a few years in the mid-2000s? Played at Vanderbilt, which was listed as a D2 team until this past Fall when they jumped to D1 in the SEC.

Pay no attention to facts Todd and PK. Its back to the 1980's Keg Rugby Leagues for those losers now!

After being dispariged a couple of times I can reply. Even on the Pacific Coast I have practiced on blacktop more than I care to remember, we do have rain....but rarely snow.

I understand the difference between established teams and developing teams, but my question remains; don't Eastern/Midwestern schools have spring sports that are competitive? How is this possible when the snow is 15 feet deep until April 20?

If D2 schools want to go to a fall schedule, they are best equipped to make their own decisions. However it is going to be impossible to get the senior football or soccer player to come out, which does happen from time to time.

Now back to my school sponsored rugby-palace.

@ Pacific Coast

The Midwest/Big-10 hadn't had a baseball team make it to the College World Series since the early 80s when U. of Michigan with Barry Larkin did until Indiana made it this June. The University of Wisconsin actually discontinued its baseball team due to unplayable climate in the Spring, even though the College World Series wraps up in June. I encourage you to go to Wikipedia and look up the list of College World Series Champs and you will see a common theme. 90-95% of them are from the SEC, Big East, ACC, or Pac-12 conferences (virtually all southern teams from those conferences as well). The Midwest is decent at basketball, hockey, and many other indoors sports that don't require outdoor practices in the Spring.

Pacific Coast -

You're talking about Varsity Sports vs Club Sports. In my opinion, you cant compare the two. One gets tremendous funding, paid coaching, administrative help and full use of varsity indoor facilities and fields, and the other does not.

Can rugby teams in the north play in the spring. yes. I don't think too many are arguing they cant and a couple of them do it pretty well, whether some refuse to acknowledge that or not. I think the point is, they cant play a complete season in the spring. And if you cant play a full continuous season then what's the point. A split season does not work and is unfair to half the teams.

You referenced Baseball and Lacrosse as having examples of northern teams doing well in spring sports... Both those sports that you're talking about are varsity first of all. Secondly, they both have a set season. Fair or unfair at least they all play during the same time of year. And since those are varsity sports, the schools up north have the money to travel south pretty much for an entire month so they can compete and play games during the months when there is still snow on the ground. Rugby teams as you know cannot afford that solution.

Very good points.^^ As this site is better at criticizing than complimenting please ignore this post.

If the D2 teams want to move to fall, so be it. I have never coached a collegiate D2 team, so I should have no impact. I have played and coached teams that start in the late fall and play straight through, so I like it the way it is and we have won a championship or two.

That being said, I have been beaten almost senseless by the Army and Navy teams (within the laws of course). BYU and Aspen up in the Rockies have found a way to make their problems into their strengths, I would hope that this is what others would do. It is a great experience to play in or watch a true National Championship.

@pac coach

I agree with the experience of playing a national championship, but we as a rugby community have been chipping away at that for a while now. First with the CRC now with this VC nonsense. This is the next step.

@pac coast

It's hard to argue against your sentiment about a "true National Championship"...except that your definition, if I can make an assumption, is not the American model. Understood that overseas, the lower divisions are given divisional championship, but only the premier division is deemed to be "national champion". That's not how we operate in America, especially collegiately. We understand that not everyone operates on the same playing field...football scholarship availability based on division, being the biggest, most recognizable denominator. A $12M rugby endowment is probably more pertinent to this discussion, though.

Not making excuses for alleged underperformance or apathy, but just making a correlation, since I know you're a big supporter of the American collegiate model, and the distinction between brand values.

Not that I want you to give up your competitive advantage, but maybe you should be advocating for clubs to see what can be done, and what measures you need to take to get there. Then the seasonality issue would be even less determined by weather, as teams would be able to afford to travel by coach to matches, go on tour to complete their earlier season schedules where weather is accomodating and have a paid coaching staff.

You can try to say this is about picking yourself up by your bootstraps, but it's not. Nor is it about lack of effort...because I've been witness to, as well as a part of, those January sessions in the parking lot, rented softball outfield (until they see how it's torn up), or gymnasium. The kids want to play, but they want to do it on a level playing field, or as level as it can be.

Demeaning DII men's collegiate conferences for taking intiative to tell USA Rugby where and when they want to play is nothing shy of elitist and parochial...and maybe, to an extent, hypocritical, given the fallout over gate revenue at a certain National Championship match a few years ago.

Some of the arguments here make no sense. Like, how is fall 7's the best development for teams playing in the CRC, which is played at the end of the Spring Season??

Quote from PYHO: "The fall should be for competitive 7s for everyone with the CRC "invitational" being the big national broadcast for the chosen few."

So let's have competitive 7's in the fall. Break. Come back for competitive 15's until May, then jump right into the biggest 7's tournament of the year a week or two later? Really??

Every team that is competitive in 15's and also invited to the CRC stated in the press and on national TV the challenges of switching codes in spring right after 15's.

And back to the topic at hand... other than a couple local filler teams (Villanova, St. Joe's), will there ever be D2 men's programs invited to the CRC?

The college Sevens competitive structure is still very much up in the air. Each conference needs to have series of tournaments rather than just one conference tournament. There is also no reason why the conferences can't spread sevens tournaments out across fall and spring and not schedule fifteens on Sevens weekends. Sevens is the commercially viable format. 15s can be promoted from the Sevens platform.

The CRC is an invitational run by a profit motivated company and supported by a profit motivated broadcaster. Let's break it down.

1) The CRC in it's current incarnation doesn't exist any longer if the owner or it's partners don't value it any longer. These partners include the teams that compete as they are contractually responsible to sell (really buy) at least 50 percent of the tickets sold.

2) Only a select few teams are invited. Some know they will be there year after year and others are trying to get noticed to be selected.

Are you telling me that the entire collegiate rugby community should commit to spring 7s to support an entity that serves a couple companies and 20 college rugby programs? That is ridiculous.

Say what you like about USA Rugby, but they produce a national championship tournament year after year for the last couple decades across multiple divisions for men and women. Everyone gets a shot to win it all too. It's not perfect, but their efforts are inclusive and dependable.

Moving the games to the fall is stupid. Teams in the south will have 10 people in the stands. Then again the cry babies only care about themselves.

@HardTruth

Instead of the 20 on the sideline they have now...? uh oh.

"USA Rugby... ...their efforts are inclusive and dependable"

Thanks for the laugh PYHO

@PYHO

Are you telling me we should all commit to play spring 15's so we can play in the Varsity Cup that only has 12 teams and is run by the same company who runs the CRC that you just mentioned?

"The CRC is an invitational run by a profit motivated company and supported by a profit motivated broadcaster." - SO IS THE VARSITY CUP

"Only a select few teams are invited" - VARSITY CUP DOES THE SAME THING

@WCL

Is your brain so frozen from the weather that you don't realize that in the spring there are numerous national championships going on in 15s rugby?

You moron.

PYHO
You are an idiot

Hard Truth
Our coach pushed us into playing in the spring as he was involved in the running of the conference. It hasn't worked, the crowds have not turned out in the spring. We get more people in the fall - they are either in town for football and come to watch us on a Friday or they will come out on a Saturday before watching football on the TV. And our coach is the first to admit it hasn't worked for us.

I don't get it - East coast college teams are keg teams (according to idiot PYHO & Co) and therefore their departure should have no bearing on the national stage? So why the noise from the west? Surely, nothing will change?

The truth is that the west want the status quo to continue because teams in the midwest and east simply cannot build their programs with the weather and conditions they have to contend with. The east and mid-west will now get stronger and in time will get competitive.

Lets roll the dice and see what happens. And before I forget, PYHO STFU!

If you have a broke, non-athletic, hated by your university administration with a blame it on the weather coach, you're getting what you deserve. Enjoy!

And still the noise goes on...

So there will be a D2 Fall "National" Champion and a D2 Spring "National" Champion. So what.

Fact is most rugby players are athletes who could not make NCAA D1, D2, or D3 programs in any sport. That makes Varsity Cup a D4 sport, USAR's D1 is really D5, and the USAR D2 clubs are really D6.

So much time worrying about a meaningless D6 national championship that could be focused on player and coach recruitment and development.

@PYHO - You have no idea what you're even arguing about... Its time to walk away and we can all agree that you've made yourself look very inept.

Deal with it, BYU and Utah have had and do have players who play for the D1 football teams. Cal also has had players offered scholarships besides rugby. Of course these teams are the cream of the crop and set the standard for all of American rugby.

PYHO I think I figured out who you are...Craig Brown out in WA state???

You can ask Kurt if its my email, but no- i use my name. Feel free to take another guess.

I like the part where the D2 clubs are required to propose the Fall championship change to Rich Cortez who has never much done anything in college rugby, who then needs to send the proposal to the college committee which is comprised of individuals who have accomplished far less than Cortez. This almighty committee then decides the issue. Meanwhile the Board of Directors and CEO are MIA.

Is there any wonder college and high school rugby in America if fractured beyond repair? How is it the individuals assigned all the authority are MIA and the least qualified individuals are setting the strategy?

A couple of years ago bloggers complained about Congress. Those complaints have dried up because it is now clear to everyone the USAR Congress has nothing to do with anything. In reality the Board has little to do with anything as they are detached from long term and short term strategy, as well as day to day management. Even big issues such as the splintering of college rugby doesn't make it into their meeting minutes. The Board is truly detached from all things big and small.

This leaves all business to Nigel Melville and staff and boy are they making a mess of this work. Committees have been set up to take the fall, just like Todd Bell was asked to take the fall previously. Employees like Cortez and Battle will be the next to fall on their swords. US rugby is now as smart as Nigel. Its a one person show, with zero oversight. Congress is without the authority to say shite if they had a mouth full and they do. The Board is without the ideas or energy to play a meaningful role and this won't change as long as Kevin Roberts is blowing his hot wind.

So this leaves Nigel, who collects his check while keeping an eye open for job listing at home. Nige has built his crack staff with employees who won't challenge him and likewise, Nige won't ask much of them. Until it all goes bad and somebody needs to take a fall.

Nothing is keeping the college conferences from arranging their own competition between conference champions to improve the quality of rugby in the US. Any administrator who is waiting for USA Rugby to make a positive difference is an idiot and deserves whatever mess results.

LOL: Rich Cortez has never done anything? How many times did you take a no-name school with some 10K students and no youth rugby programs in-state to the Sweet 16 And Final 4? Have you worked in a Big Ten varsity athletics program? Rich may not have Clive Woodward's resume, but he's accomplished a lot with a little. And if you want to bet on the atruism of Jack Clark and his interest in the overall success of college rugby vs. that of Rich or anyone else working on D1A, make sure you're ready to wake up in that bed you made in the morning when all that's there is some money and a Golden Bears t-shirt on the dresser.

I really don't know, but in all seriousness can D2 schools deciding to play a Fall championship be Jack's doing? A golden bear t-shirt if you're for, or is it if you're against D2 Fall championship rugby???

I don't know much and I learn less reading some of these comments, but I'm pretty sure JC doesn't think much about the Rich Cortez vs Sir Clive Woodward coaching comparison.

So sorry to see the overall structure of US college rugby melt away under this administration. Maybe its for the best. The CRC has been a gift to America college rugby. Hopefully the conferences, small college national championship and varsity cup will add to the non-USAr tapestry. Too bad the D2 teams didn't just start their own championship as opposed to forcing USAr to endorse their view. USAr will do anything to keep teams paying these CIPP dues. It is the only thing the USAr administration cares about, the dues. Keep the dues coming in at all coast. Cut what ever deals are required to keep the college dues flowing. At some point this administration will truly collapse. The shell game will end, like all shell games do. Then, we will all be responsible for putting humpty dumpty back together again.

The tyranny of USA Rugby has forced us to make a very difficult decision. We will be playing our conference games in space.

We all need to admit playing XV and 7's in the Fall makes sense for some schools. It might be a chance to showcase their team and get in a few extra matches. The split season has its advantages. However, a Fall championship will be harmful to the players and teams of these schools. It will lessen the accomplishment of a D2 championship. College rugby championships are won in the Springtime, same as high school and elite men's championships. Claiming any title outside this window will dilute the intended objective.

The two highest profile, most prestigious collegiate rugby championships will both take place in the Spring (May & June). Champions will be crowned in both forms of the game, XV's and 7's. The CRC has had small Ivy college Dartmouth, unbranded Central Washington, NAIA Life and big public school Cal. The Varsity Cup in XV's has the most successful XV's teams in the history of US rugby as participants. Good teams, good management and NBC create two national championship competitions without peer. A Fall championship in either form of the game is without a chance. The participants in a Fall championship will be denied the enjoyment of a real stadium, fans and a TV broadcast experience. They will be left with a hollow personal experience, only made worse by watching the Spring national championships on TV. This is a ill-advised, possibly selfish move on the part of coaches. You have got to feel sorry for the players trapped in this decision.

Rich Cortez tried to get tough with JC and ended up on the canvas wondering what hit him. The Varsity Cup is the premier college rugby league that is shaping the future of rugby in the USA.

Why or how can you make that statement? It's a one match knock for 50% of the teams?

We are a winner take all nation, and the Varsity Cup and CRC have won by getting NBC on board. Everyone else do whatever you like, or get on board with the winners. #AmericanWay

My bad!

@SorryBoys

You're a moron. None of the teams who moved to the fall have every played on TV in the first place... so their "hollow personal experience" of playing rugby in the fall is about the most overstated thing I think I ever read on this board. And that's saying something. The arrogance of you Left Coasters is staggering.

And stop calling the CRC a National Championship. Its a great event, but a National Championship it is not. You guys seem to call everything a National Championship as long as Cal is playing in it. The CRC is an invitational that teams have to shell out $12,000 just to attend.

You know what I liked about the CRC... I like how they told the D3 teams and the girls teams that their championship would be on TV just so they could make more teams buy more tickets... {"...just purchase 75 tickets each and don't worry, your championship game get on TV"...} Meanwhile they knew all along they'd never see the light of Day on NBC Sports let alone NBC.

Don't get me wrong, the CRC is great PR for college rugby, but its not all sunshine and rainbows like you think it is.

And the NCAA football championship is not a real championship either. Do you think anyone would mind if D3 collegiate football changed their season to the spring?

The Varsity Cup is being shown live on NBC as the lead in to the Kentucky Derby. USA Rugby could never have pulled that deal off.
The Varsity Cup is now the premier rugby event in America.

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