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College Consolidation: ACRA, ACR Join CRAA

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College Consolidation: ACRA, ACR Join CRAA

Texas State and Minnesota in action in this past spring's ACR playoffs. Griff Hastings photo.

GLENDALE, Colo. – In a big step for collegiate rugby, College Rugby Association of America (CRAA) today announced that American College Rugby (ACR) and American College Rugby Association (ACRA) will join CRAA in the fall of 2022.

This brings the majority of USA Rugby-member collegiate competitions under one high performance organization. (This is not taking into account NCR, which is not considered a USA Rugby-member org., handles a huge majority of small-college and men's DII, and almost certainly works with more conferences and players overall.)

This past collegiate school year college rugby was essentially divided among six governance situations: CRAA, NCR, ACR, ACRA, NIRA (women's NCAA teams), and independents (covers a few conferences that opted not to get in bed with anyone for now). This merger cuts that number down to four. NIRA will always be separate, while the independents may well join a larger group. But ACRA and ACR joining with CRAA puts much of women's DII college and most of the West US under the CRAA umbrella.  

Competitions, divisional structure, and postseason events will be the first order of business for CRAA and the USA Rugby College Council as represented teams now look forward to elevated Spring and Fall championship events and experiences. The 2022 CRAA Fall Classic is slated to return to Charlotte, NC the weekend of December 3-4, while the CRAA Spring Championship will return to Houston, Texas on May 6, 2023. 

"We are thrilled to join forces with ACR and ACRA to create a USA Rugby sanctioned collegiate competition focused on growing high performance programs," said College Rugby Association of America President, Paul Keeler, "This is a pivotal time for collegiate rugby in the United States, with two Rugby World Cups on the horizon and the need for a united approach to developing the game."

CRAA Women's Board President, Olivia Benzan-Daniel added, "It's incredibly exciting to have growth within the CRAA Women's Division. The addition of Fall Division II teams from ACRA is something that will certainly bolster the competition and enthusiasm for all we have planned in the future."

ACR Executive Director, Rich Cortez said, “American College Rugby is excited to partner with the College Rugby Association of America and bring ACR’s Collegiate Men’s Division 1AA, D2, and D3 teams under one umbrella to create a unified collegiate organization of men’s and women’s teams that are USA Rugby members and under the sanctioning of World Rugby. We believe in proper process, player and coach centered competitions, and extraordinary championships. We look forward to implementing programs and competitions to solidify, improve, and expand the college game.”

"ACRA is excited to join CRAA to advance women’s rugby," added ACRA President, Samantha Hoegle. "Teams that were previously playing together in the postseason, can now be in the same organization. Not only will this increase the number of teams playing together but will allow for further development of teams playing at a variety of levels and seasons. We are optimistic that this merger will create an avenue for women’s teams to further build within the sport of rugby, and in an organization that emphasizes both competition and growth."