D1A Teams Meet, Make Changes

Michael Geib smc-v-life-2017-diafinal-michael-geib-2875.jpg

Coaches and league reps from men's D1A college conferences met late last month in what those attending said was perhaps the best-toned, most constructive meeting the group has ever had.

D1A is set to sign some deals to get more media exposure on a national basis, but perhaps more telling was that many teams sent representatives to the meeting. The presence of USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne, someone who has coached at the D1A level, was important to everyone.


The key development appears to be coaches and teams taking more ownership of how the division is operated. The teams are now running an audit of finances that were handled by USA Rugby in the past three years. That audit will be overseen by Santa Clara head coach Paul Keeler, whose job it is to find out if USA Rugby owes the league money.

In addition, the D1A is clamping down on teams that fail to submit proper game reports and use USA Rugby's online competition management system. The division is also holding teams to a waiver deadline. Reports are that a large proportion of waiver requests (usually for players who needed an eligibility waiver) were filed after the season was completed. This won't fly going forward, as teams now have a deadline (mid-October or mid-February, depending on when the team in question starts play). All waiver requests filed after the deadlines will result in automatic denial.

D1A coaches (head coaches and assistants) will be required to attain Level 300 certification. Coaches without that certification will have a year in which to get it. The conferences are now expected to host certification courses to make this easier.

The division also has formed committees for budget, competitions, disciplinary, and eligibility. There is also an oversight committee that will look at the bigger picture and review the performance of the commissioner (who is currently Kevin Battle). On that oversight committee is Dan Payne, Tom Rooney (Ohio State, Big Ten), Paul Keeler (Santa Clara, California Conference), Teshay Flowers (TCU, Red River Conference), Tim O'Brien (Saint Mary's, California Conference), and Colton Cariaga (Life University, Mid-South).

It is telling that Payne is on the oversight committee, and most agree that his involvement (compared to previous CEO Nigel Melville's less enthusiastic attention) is a good development.


Two notable developments for the playoffs (almost) came out of the meeting. The first is that conference champions will no longer be guaranteed a home playoff game - or so the news was coming out of the meeting. However, since the meeting that's been changed. Conference winners still get their home game.

And that's because ... the playoffs are expected to expand to 16 teams, from the previous system, which saw 12 teams play, with four of those teams getting a bye to the second round. Since the playoffs already run four weeks, adding four more teams doesn't extend the playoffs. It does, however, perhaps settle some rankings arguments, offering a chance for teams that felt they were ranked too low to prove themselves.


Along with the clarification on the playoff seeds, another upshot from the meetings and discussions is a plan to allow some official wiggle room when the playoff matchups are set up. Basically, this is to allow a more geographically convenient matchup, or to (perhaps) change a matchup if it's between two teams that have played each other a lot. This was the case in the spring when Lindenwood was slated to play Davenport a week after the two teams had a league game (they combined the two games), and then Lindenwood played Life for the 3rd time in the season for the quarterfinals.

What's Up With Notre Dame? Irish Pull Off Upset

Colleen McCloskey Navy_NotreDame_1765.jpg

The University of Notre Dame pulled off a bit of an upset this past week, beating Davenport 36-24 on the road to record the Fighting Irish's first victory of the season.

Merlins Weave Magic, Old Blue Tough in ARP

Glendale Rugby glendalevoldblue2017-glendalerugby.jpg

The Atlantic Rugby Premiership may be a small club competition, but for the Eastern men's clubs it's an important one — the sad news is that the best squad among them is from Colorado.

FloRugby All D1 College Rankings: What To Do About An Upset

Steven Zomberg undvdavenport-zomberg2017-1.jpg

How do you punish an upset? Do you make the assumption that the losing team selected down and didn't have its top players? Or do you immediately assume that both squads had their best lineup and punish the loser.

Justin Johnson, A Star In The Making


By Austin Willis

Who's Up, Who's Down: Taufete’e Shines At Euro Challenge Cup

David Barpal wwu7s2017.jpg

A USA Eagles player posted a hat trick for his club team in one of the most impressive performances of the weekend, while the Varsity Cup saw its run as a major postseason event all but extinguished.

Playoffs And Glory Beckon: D1A Standings

Anthony Stella pennstatevkutztown2017-1.jpg

With the news that the D1A playoffs will expand and likely will be the only high-level game in town, it's time to check in on the standings.

D1A Postseason Deadline Means Big Changes

Michael Geib smc-v-life-2017-diafinal-michael-geib-2875.jpg

Today, Oct. 15, is the deadline for D1A college teams to declare their intention to participate in the spring playoffs.

Austin Elite Hold Combine

Alex Goff austincombinegroup.jpg

Austin Elite of Major League Rugby held a combine Saturday in Austin, Texas, to look at several dozen players hoping to make the pro team.

Hanco Cuatro As USA Selects Beat Canada A In APC Finale

Colleen McCloskey arc2016-hanco-germishuys-colleen-mccloskey-1b.jpg

The USA Selects capped off the Americas Pacific Challenge with a 45-26 defeat of Canada A on Sunday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Arkansas Red River 7s Champion Again

Jordan Maat rrrc7s-2017-jordan-maat-7.jpg

For the second year in a row, Arkansas won the Red River Rugby Conference 7s championship, defeating Texas A&M 26-12 in the final on Saturday in Stephenville, Texas.