Guard Your College Eligibility When Pro Clubs Come Calling

The college rugby season is coming to a close and for many college players the exciting and still-new prospect of a potential professional contract makes this time of year a little thrilling, and certainly perilous.

Why? Because there are rules, and players may not be aware of them. Such as:

If decide to take a semester off to train or play with a professional team (MLR, or other) during the fall, and hope to play college rugby in the spring, you’re out of luck. You will not be eligible.

If you play with an MLR team as a late-season replacement, you become a professional, and you can’t play college rugby anymore.

You can lose your college eligibility doing the following:

  • Playing for a pro team, even if they don’t pay you.

  • Training with a pro team.

  • Signing a pro contract, even if you don’t play until after graduation.

  • Playing for a professional team’s academy team.

It’s Signer Beware 

If you are a college rugby player, you can lose your eligibility very easily and not even know it until it’s too late.

This applies to high-schoolers, too. If you graduate from high school, play with a pro team, and then enroll in college, you are not eligible to play college rugby.

We just though you’d like to know.

Do you have questions or comments we could use in a follow-up article? Let us know here.

(After some feedback about sourcing this, a note: This article came from long discussions with USA Rugby college officials, D1A leadership, the actual written regulations of USA Rugby and the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association, and discussions with Major League Rugby teams, all summarized to make it a little easier to wade through. - AG)

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