HOME >> COLLEGIATE RUGBY >> THE STATE OF RUGBY IN THE USA - A LETTER TO USA RUGBY - 2012

Posted February 28th, 2012

 

Dear Nigel:

 

I am writing you directly on behalf of all Women’s Colleges in the Northeast and Midwest, and pockets of Teams and Unions throughout the country.  As you’ll see below, I have copied Union Executives, College Coaches, College Athletic Directors, Committee Members, et al from around the country who both support and oppose the case you are about to read.  This is by no means a complete list, but is merely included for transparency purposes.

 

 

We have all heard the compelling arguments for both sides of the seasonality issue – when should we play 7s and when should we play 15s?  While many arguments are valid and we will never have 100% support one way or another, there is an indisputable, determining factor in the form of Mother Nature herself.  The entire Northeast, the entire Midwest, and portions of the Northwest and Mid-Atlantic CANNOT play a full 15s season in the spring.

 

 

It is my understanding that USAR is working with the NCAA to define seasonality for our game and begin developing more varsity status Teams around the country.  This is a wonderful opportunity for so many student-athletes and college programs and will be a game-changer for all levels of Men’s and Women’s Rugby in the USA!  However, should a particular seasonality be set that contrasts with the Mother Nature constraints of our Northern Regions, those Regions will be faced with an incredible question – will they accept Varsity 7s status in the fall and lose 15s Rugby altogether or will they continue to run fall 15s with no hope of ever attaining varsity status?

 

 

Taking any sort of middle ground stance in which different regions can choose their own seasons to play the respective codes will not work either.  It would be very unlikely the NCAA would approve such a plan, and even if they did, the quest to build more Varsity Teams would fall short when AD’s discovered the complexities of mixing both codes into both seasons.  Furthermore, this would cripple the ability for “opposite season” Teams to play on “level ground” in National Championships.

 

 

The fall 7s argument splits our country in two.  It jeopardizes the NCAA initiative by limiting the growth of Varsity Rugby by excluding all colleges in the snow Regions from ever participating in Varsity 15s. 

 

 

By mandating fall 15s and spring 7s, you would be UNITING our Collegiate Rugby landscape and giving ALL colleges the opportunity to join the NCAA initiative for both codes of the game.  This is the ONLY way to give every college in the country the OPPORTUNITY to play Varsity Rugby (7s and/or 15s) and keep their 15s programs alive.

 

 

I find it very disconcerting that USAR has set a standard for a fall 7s season by administering the 7s National Championships in fall.  This has been done at the committee level, but without enough input or objective data from around the country.  Two entire Regions of the country, nearly 50% of your collegiate membership will have minimal, at best, opportunity to prepare or qualify for this event.  We must act now to change this decision made by a minority and made void of important data into one that considers the greater interests of our entire population.

 

 

I, along with the unified support of two Regions and many auxiliary supporters around the country,  ask you to consider the following options:

 

 

A.

 

Unify our college schedule by making a decisive mandate on the seasonality issue.  Fall 15s and Spring 7s is the only way to give opportunity to all.

 
   

OR

 

B.

 

 

Slow down the effort to define seasonality in the NCAA initiative until you have a better understanding of how it could devastate the Northern United States and cap the growth of Varsity Rugby at less than half of its potential.

 

Thank you for your consideration and work on this matter.

Yours truly,

Austin Hall

Head Coach, Varsity Women’s Rugby, Norwich University Women's Rugby Club

(W) 802-485-2921, (C) 802-595-1346

 

The recipients below do not necessarily support this email and are just a handful of the Coaches and Representatives who will be affected by your

decisions.  All of the Northeast and Midwest Women’s Collegiate Representatives listed below (and many more who are not included) do support this email.

 
 

Cc: 

 
 

Richard Ashfield – Northeast Rugby Union Women’s Select-side Coach; Jonathan Atkeison – UNC Women’s Coach, USAR Competitions’ Committee Member; Chip Auscavitch – Rugby Northeast Conference Commissioner; Dick Brewer – UW LaCrosse Coach; Craig Brown – USAR Men’s Competition Committee and Pacific Northwest Representative; Tony Brown – Vassar College Women’s Coach; Becky Carlson – Quinnipiac Varsity Women’s Rugby; Bryn Chivers – U-20 WNT Coach; Tony Deremer – West Chester Varsity Women’s Coach; Ernie Espinoza – Pacific NW U-19 Coach; Robert Famiglietti – New England Rugby Referee’s Society President; Greg Fehrman – Northeast Rugby Union Vice-President, overseeing Northeast Colleges; Adrian Gannon – CARFU President and USAR Congress; John Gow - Illinois Rugby Union Collegiate Women's Coordinator and Collegiate Women's All Star Coach; Brian Hamlin – Harvard Women’s Coach; Kerri Heffernan – Brown Women’s Coach, USAR Strategic Committee Member; Jeremiah Johnson – Iowa President, Midwest President and USAR Congress; Maurice Kauff – Tufts University Men’s Coach; Nancy Kechner – University of Virginia Women’s Rugby Coach, USAR College Management Council; Joanne Liu – Boston College Women’s Coach; Gary Lobaugh – Allegheny President and USAR Congress; Bill Lucas – Mary Washington Coach, USAR Competitions’ Committee Chair; Shawn McKinney - Illinois Rugby Union President and EIU Men's Coach; Josh Macy – American International College Varsity Women’s Coach; Alex Magelby – Dartmouth Men’s and Collegiate All-American’s Coach; Tony Mariano – Athletic Director, Norwich University; MaryBeth Mathews – Bowdoin Varsity Women’s Coach, USAR Strategic Committee/NCAA Committee Member; David McPhail – President, Texas Rugby Union; Vaughn Mitchell – Indiana University Women’s Rugby Coach; Steve Murra – UNI Coach and Midwest U23/Collegiate Coach; Candi Orsini – Eckerd Women’s Coach, South Representative, Former WNT Coach; Sue Parker – Navy Women’s Coach, USAR Strategic Committee/NCAA Committee; Becky Reynolds – MN President; Roger Riley – Winona State Women’s Coach, USAR Competitions’ Committee Member; Christy Ringgenberg – Minnesota Rugby Development Officer, USAR Intl Athlete, USAR Appointments Committee; Fred Roedel – USAR Audit Committee, Former NERFU President and USAR Congress Member; Chris St. Onge – NEWCRC Conference Administrator and NERFU Division III College Director; Jim Snyder – USAR Interim Collegiate Director; Todd Streeter – UW Parkside & Men’s Competition Committee; Pete Steinberg – Penn State Women’s Coach, WNT Coach; Bob Weggler – Norwich University Men’s Coach & Director of Rugby, Commissioner New England Collegiate Rugby Conference; Kara Yimoyines – Tufts University Women’s Coach; Gray Zischke – UW Stevens Point & College Management Council

 
 

Also posted on February 27th, 2012 at 12:16 AM by Charles Cisco, Marketing and Communications Director for Rugby Northeast