@Chris87 Whats collegiate rugby like in the states? my knowledge of rugby in the USA is pretty appalling tbh [/quote]
It’s pretty well organized and popular. Just about any college with a significant enrollement has a team.
There’s 4 divisions:
1A- about 30 teams, this is a new division, only 2 or 3 years old. They took all the national powers and put them together to make a preimer dvision, as well as allowing the 1AA division to be more competitive, since these teams were generally winning all of their conferences. It is yet to be seen if this division will remain long term, because of the travel costs that these teams have. Most of them are the only team in the division in their state. One team (university of california) left the division this year, to go back to 1AA, so they could keep playing all their traditional rivals. (cal has won 22 national titles in 25 years, they are the flagship of college rugby, so their move may cause others to move out of the division as well)
1AA- 110 teams. All the major universities in the country. This is the division I play in. Most of the conferences have the same teams as the NCAA conferences. Teams started to do this on their own, since they play these teams in all other sports, have rivalries, teams are nearby, etc. USA rugby also encouraged this move, to give more visability to the sport.
Division 2 and 3- smaller colleges, a hundred teams or so each. These conferences are generally determined geographically, since these teams have less money for travel expenses. There are a lot of teams in these divisions that take the game very seriously though, especially because they usually have less stellar athletic programs (less focus on football, so they can get more athletes)
Every year there are national playoffs. Teams that win a conference with 7 or more teams get an automatic bid, and the rest are at large teams. 16 team brackets.
There are only a couple schools in the country that give out scholarships for rugby, and most of those are private scholarships, a couple thousand dollars for some of the players, or they offer in state tuition to out of state students who play on the rugby team. There’s only 1 or 2 teams that offer traditional athletic scholarships for rugby players. These teams arent usually very known schools who don’t have a football team, or very much money, since fielding a rugby team is much, much cheaper than fielding a football team.
There’s about 90,000 or so rugby players in the US, and about half of them are playing in college. A lot of people play, but they’re arent big crowds, except for the really good teams, like Cal. I think the problem is that many people don’t know of rugby, or all they know is “of that’s football without pads”. I think most of this problem is that rugby is not an NCAA sport (the governing body for college sports in the US). It is overseen by USA rugby, and I think this is holding schools back from financing the teams. This is unfortunate, because I think that if the schools financed the teams, they could draw big crowds. People will like the game, they just need to get out there and see it.
As far as playing it personally, it’s great. I love it. I’ve played high school football in the south. We weren’t even a good team, and we still drew 5-6 thousand people per game. But I enjoy rugby much more. In football, I would practice 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, only to get 10 mins of action in a game. In rugby, I get a full 80 mins of action, plus anyone can score, that’s awesome.
We have to pay dues to play, it’s about 300 bucks a year, and provide our own cleats, mouthpiece, etc. For games in state, we all carpool. For out of state games, the school gives us vans, the club pays for gas and hotels if need be. The school provides a (beautiful) pitch, but we have to share with other student activites (flag football, soccer, etc.)
I love the sport, I just hope in the future we are given the same respect that other student athletes are given. I see kids that run track or compete in swimming and diving that have indoor practice facilities, free team gear, high visibility, etc. And noone even knows about rugby, even though we finished the fall season ranked in the top ten nationally last year. All I can do is keep spreading the word and working hard to keep winning. When we win the national championship, it’ll be impossible to ignore us.
If you have any more questions, feel free.[/quote]
Props for being a D1 athlete, all the time and sacrifices needed to be successful is something very few people can/could do[/quote]
Thank you, I appreciate it.