Rugby America

Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective

Collegiate 7’s Championship: USAR Release Leaves A Lot To Be Desired

by Ted Hardy

Yesterday, after months and months of speculation, USA Rugby released information on a fall season of 7’s tournaments that culminates in a National Championship tournament in December. The problem is that, as with many USAR releases, the information was limited and vague at best.

The location for the championship has yet to be determined and how the tournament field is decided is also up in the air. The women’s event is going to be invitational, which makes it sound like the women were added as an afterthought. The men’s field of 24 teams comes from 13 announced tournaments. I’m not a math major, but it sounds like there are going to be some “at large” bids to the tournament. There was also no mention of how CPD teams fit into the mix.

The process of selecting at-large teams is a hotly contested subject even at uber-organized levels of collegiate athletics and USAR is going to step into a position where they are picking teams for the national championship? Can’t wait to see how that plays out.

The problems don’t stop at simple tournament logistics. This tournament has been one of the worst kept secrets in American rugby for at least 5-6 months. It was late Winter/early Spring when I first heard about it. With all of that time to put together a clear and concise release, USAR seemingly scrambled to send out a short memo after the Atlantic Coast 7’s more or less broke the news officially with their most recent press release.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. USAR can’t say that any of this snuck up on them or they lacked time to put something together. The short sightedness of our current administration has brought collegiate rugby to this point. A collegiate 7’s National Championship was absolutely inevitable and this is all that we get?  A short and vague release? This should have been a major news release with a detailed layout of the tournament, where it is, how teams qualify, sponsors, and surely a quote or two from management.

It has now been almost two full years since the IOC made rugby an Olympic sport. Even during that year, it had become evident that rugby was going to get the needed votes to return to the world’s biggest stage. A plan was needed even before that final vote. Instead USAR had a party in New York to celebrate as if the sponsorship money was finally going to start rolling into their coffers. Please.

A plan for the growth and development of 7’s should have already been in place and ready to roll the second the IOC stamped rugby’s ticket. Instead, USAR continues to let others, such as USA 7’s LLC., lead the charge. At the very worst, a Collegiate 7’s Championship should have been launched last year at this time. Instead, a year later, we get a pathetic release about a tournament a week from Christmas that doesn’t even have a location. This tournament has the potential to be a major event and it has been given the stepchild treatment.

It is fitting that the same day the Eagles, as well as their massive entourage, leave for the World Cup in New Zealand that USAR squeeks out a blurb on what could be one of the marquee events on the American rugby calendar. Not that there has ever been any confusion as to where our leadership’s attention lies.

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9 comments on “Collegiate 7’s Championship: USAR Release Leaves A Lot To Be Desired

  1. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011

    I hate to do this, but its a lot not alot

  2. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011

    And it’s it’s, not its. My own grammatical correction had bad grammar.

    On the real issue: I’m not surprised at all by the treatment USA Rugby is giving this. They ignored 7’s, even after it was made an Olympic sport, until it was on NBC and now they are scrambling to cover their behinds

  3. ajax
    September 3, 2011

    It’s worse than that, IMHO. USAR is unfortunately not doing anything to truly promote rugby in the USA. The GU’s are one recent instance and this is another. This tournament shows little recognition of the way rugby actually works at the collegiate level or the precarious financial position of many of our collegiate teams. The “massive entourage” is what it’s all about for USAR, unfortunately, while folks on the ground are struggling to actually develop rugby in the US.

    • Anonymous
      September 3, 2011

      I agree with that totally. I play on a team in the East Coast Rugby Conference, and our qualifying tournament is set for November 12th (the press release said the 5th, but that isn’t right). If we were to win that, we would have a month to come up with the thousands of dollars required to travel to where ever the championship is held, and would probably have to pay out of pocket mostly.

      To be fair though, I’m not sure if the conference scheduled the tournament or if it was mandated by USA Rugby when it should be

  4. Transparent
    September 3, 2011

    Everyone complains about usar not being transparent. Ridiculous, I say. They have been utterly clear and blatant about their feelings concerning the most important area im american rugby for the past few years. Get it through your heads. Boulder doesnt give a damn about college rugby. Haha oooh the frustration!

  5. Andy Richards
    September 3, 2011

    Lets wait and see what transpires in New Zealand over the next month or so. My college team (just like hundreds of others across the country) just dropped over $2,000 in Cipp dues to play rugby under USAR. At this moment in time I’m left scratching my head wondering what we get for that sum of cash.

    In a month or so, lets see if it was all worth it, and then the questions should be asked. Up until then lets get right behind our national team.

  6. Chip
    September 10, 2011

    Andy,

    Let’s say for a moment that the USA wins the RWC. If no one in the US outside of rugby fans watch it, or know about it (if a tree falls in the forest…), then how does that help justify our CIPP dues? There’s still no ROI for the sport. I would bet my life savings that Florida v Florida State rugby would get more non-rugby playing viewers than USA vs NZ in the RWC final if both were on TV.

    • Benito
      September 13, 2011

      I don’t know about that. Success builds a buzz. Rugby is pretty big at Cal. Well, relatively speaking, but it gets some attention because they are good at it. If USA made it to the RWC final, it would definitely get coverage and people would care because it’s the national team. Not because they are concerned with rugby. But USA vs Russia would probably get less viewers than Florida-Florida State in rugby. If marketed correctly.

    • Andy Richards
      September 13, 2011

      Chip
      I totally agree – but before shouting from the rooftops and looking like someone that it is not supporting our team I want to wait until after the RWC. Lets see if the results have gotten better; if their their plan of Eagles first is working. Both you and I know how our game should be structured and where the money and emphasis should go.

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This entry was posted on September 2, 2011 by in Club Sevens, College Rugby, Collegiate Men, Collegiate Women, Editorials, Featured, Olympics, Rugby News.

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