Are Challenge Matches A Better Format For College Postseason?

858x400-referral.jpg

By John Broker

I am going to throw out an opinion about the college rugby postseason that I am not sure I agree with, and we can discuss from there, as rugby people are wont to do.

The Liberty Conference Challenge takes place at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, this Saturday, with a great slate of games for teams across the Northeast. It is a one-day event and includes Delaware, Tufts, UMASS, Stony Brook, Albany, Fairfield, Syracuse, URI, Binghamton, UCONN, AIC, Fordham, Northeastern, and Cortland.

Watch the 2017 Liberty Conference Challenge LIVE on FloRugby

In other parts of the country, teams will be traveling greater distances to play two games in two days to move on in national championship rounds. 

The question is the role of national championships in the evolving college rugby landscape. Could the resources be better used elsewhere if the burden on the players, teams, and schools were lessened for travel to nationals? Could concepts similar to the Challenge games provide equal competition at a better price and possibly still lead to a national champion? 

Pride And Resources

Nationals is a pride thing, and I have been involved in runs for nationals at a number of levels and in a number of roles, so I get it. But boy does it take some cash. A typical men’s college team in the Northeast usually has 3-4 away games each fall season, averaging 3-5 hours of travel, followed by a two-day weekend playoff and a play-in game that can be anywhere up to eight hours travel. The teams then travels to Pennsylvania for a two-game weekend and, depending on outcome, heads to South Carolina for a two-game championship weekend. While it’s fun, it’s not easy and school support varies wildly throughout the country. 

There are of course a lot of variables in the conference setup nationwide, and I don’t envy the folks who have to make sense of it. But could a simpler setup leave for resources for player, coach, and program development? Would a reduced travel burden on teams and the fostering of conference rivalries benefit programs? Could the Liberty Conference Challenge serve as a starting point?


"Could a simpler setup leave for resources for player, coach and program development?"


Like I said at the start, I am not sure if I agree, but it is food for thought and definitely fodder for conversation. I loved all my involvement with nationals (and would love more), but change can sometimes be good.

We would love to hear what you all think, so go to the FloRugby Facebook and Twitter pages to join the conversation. 

Oh, and tune into FloRugby.com on Saturday for the Liberty Challenge matches.


- John Broker is a longtime rugby coach and announcer who has covered some of the highest profile games in the USA. He most recently was the play-by-play announcer for the Saracens v USA Islanders game, and will be on-air this weekend for the Liberty Challenge matches.

7s Eagles Take Coaching Roles At San Diego State While On Rehab

Alex Goff Zack Test Is A Coach.jpg

Injured but not idle, recovering USA sevens players Zack Test and Brett Thompson spent part of their fall coaching the San Diego State sevens team.

Division Debates Part IV: Seasonal Stuff We Can't Change

Colleen McCloskey Navy vs Life Colleen McCloskey 5323.jpg

After NBC and United World Sports parted ways on broadcasting the Collegiate Rugby Championship Sevens Invitational, people started speculating that the CRC might be history.

Can You Make The Rugby-Football Crossover As An All-Star?

tyrsejohnsonfisher.jpg

English rugby-playing sensation Tyrese Johnson-Fisher is a speedy center/wing who also wants to be a football player, and he's going to get his chance.

Bracket Watch: If The D1A Playoffs Started Tomorrow

Michael Geib Saint Marys vs BYU 2017 Michael Geib

At the halfway mark of the 2017-18 college season, a bunch of D1A teams are in playoff limbo — and it's not the good kind.

McWilliams Lauds Leadership Of Eagles Players

Rugby Georgia USA v Georgia Nov 2017 Photo Credit Georgia Rugby 2.jpg

The USA men's 15s team is still waiting for its new head coach to join the fold, but leadership isn't an issue for the Eagles in the interim, according to one of the squad's assistants.

The Division Debate Part III: Is D1A Doing Its Job?

Steven Zomberg Arkansas State v Davenport 2017 Zomberg 3.jpg

In Part III of our series on the structure of men's college rugby, we're taking a look at whether D1A is serving its purpose.

FloRugby To Live-Stream Life University Home Games

Michael Geib smc-v-life-2017-diafinal-michael-geib-2856.jpg

FloRugby has reached an agreement with Life University to live-stream a series of men’s and women’s undergraduate rugby team games for this winter and spring.

Still Many Changes To Expect In D1AA Rankings

Colleen McCloskey UMW vs JMU Sept 2017 Colleen McCloskey 4.jpg

We've got a fall champion in D1AA and currently that team, Mary Washington, is the new No. 1 in FloRugby's Men's D1AA rankings.

New Zealand Wins Cape Town, USA Finishes 6th

Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby Cape Town 7s 2017 Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby 4.JPG

New Zealand defeated Argentina 38-14 on Sunday to take the Cup Final at the Cape Town Sevens and shoot to first place in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings, while the USA left the series' second leg with a lot more to be happy about than when it arrived in Cape Town.

USA Does A 180 To Go 3-0 In Cape Town

Mike Lee KLC fotos World Rugby USA 7s At Cape Town 2017 Carlin Isles - Mike Lee KLC Fotos World Rugby.JPG

The USA men's sevens team produced a massive turnaround to open the Cape Town Sevens on Saturday and will look to get a top four finish, or better, on day two.