College Competitions and Winners 2021-22
In an ever changing collegiate landscape we wanted to give a summary of this year’s competitions. We will outline who has competed in and won the competitions and to highlight some of the major competitions where lots of colleges travel across the States to compete every year. Additionally, highlighting the programs where some of our Elite Rugby Scholars have been or will be fortunate to be a part of in years to come.
Firstly, the governing bodies… USA Rugby has a few sub bodies under it that oversees various divisions.
College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) oversees D1-A, Womens D1 Elite, D1 and D2. The CRAA hosts its national 7s competition this weekend in Houston, Texas.
American Collegiate Rugby (ACR) oversees the men’s D1-AA, D2 and D3 competitions.
American Collegiate Rugby Association (ACRA) is another governing body focusing on building further female competition across the country.
National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) is an NCAA approved competition with DI, DII and DIII offering. The NCAA is the major U.S college athletics governing body and it is promising to see their support for the female game with this 35+ strong college competition.
National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) is the other major governing body in the States that has seen a lot of colleges flock to their competitions and governance over the last 18 months. That have simpler division structures in Mens D1, D2 and Small College as well as Women’s D1 and Small College. Across these divisions there are colleges making up over 30 geographical conferences.
Where things can get a little more complicated is that many programs overlap competitions from the various governing bodies to fill their schedules. So you may see colleges ranked in USA Rugby rankings and also in the NCR.
In summary, there is a lot of evolving going on in the U.S College competition. Colleges are making decisions or which competitions and governing bodies work best for their programs. Given the geographical/logistical challenges it could be a long time before we see all 600+ colleges playing under a single college competition structure.
This year there are several national champions depending on the competition you are following.
National Collegiate Rugby
The Mens NCR DI champions were St Bonaventure University form up-state New York. Head coach Tui Osborne runs a fantastic program there and our Elite Rugby Scholar from Scotland, Matthew Conroy contributed to their efforts. Matthew was also fortunate to be named as a collegiate All-American in his first season in the States.
Thomas More University won the NCR D2. This varsity program in Kentucky will welcome our South African scholar Reabetswe Seele this Fall where he will help literally prop up their next seasons efforts.
Christendom College, Virginia won the Mens Small College.
On the women’s D1 competition another of our Scottish scholars Eilidh MacGilvray helped Life University from Georgia win another D1 championship.
The women’s small college championship was picked up be Wayne State College, Nebraska.
USA Rugby had a highly competitive national championship this year with Army edging out St Mary’s College, CA in a heated final. Lindenwood defeated Life University in the women’s D1 Elite competition. Yes, Life University competed under both governing bodies this year. Yet again another rugby scholar Imogen Woods currently attends Lindenwood.
The women’s D1 and D2 competitions were won by Brigham Young University and the Claremont Colleges respectively.
National Intercollegiate Rugby Association
The DI, DII and DIII divisions within NIRA saw Dartmouth, West Chester and Bowdoin top each division respectively. There are more programs joining this competition next year as well which is very exciting to see for the growth of the women's game.
So depending on where you look there are a few national champions across the States. The next couple of weekends will be very interesting as the USA Rugby host their National 7s Championship this weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. Three divisions and over 50 colleges partaking. Two weeks later we will be lucky enough to be attending the NCR National 7s May Madness in New Orleans. Again 32 men’s programs and 16 women’s teams competing over the weekend.
There is much rugby getting played across the States now with the growth continuing and new programs starting or turning varsity next year. Another group of Elite Rugby Scholars are also heading out this Fall to add to that competition. It is a hugely exciting time to be considering this as an international player.