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Fall-Spring Split Becoming More Geographical

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Fall-Spring Split Becoming More Geographical

New Haven vs SUNY Maritime in small-college playoff action last fall.

The small-college men's teams in National Collegiate Rugby have voted to hold their 15s national championship in the fall.

This is a departure from how what used to be called NSCRO handled its championships—before, three of the four national semifinalists were decided in fall play and playoffs, while the fourth, from the West, was decided in the spring. The final four was then played in the spring.

But, as NCR CEO Steve Cohen pointed out, more than 85% of the NCR's small college teams play their 15s league play and playoffs in the fall, and a large proportion of the others split their 15s season, thus playing some of their 15s rugby in the fall. So now the entire 15s season, from opening day to the championship game, will be played in the fall (once we can play rugby again).

This change was approved by the NCR Executive Committee. 

While Cohen said NCR is "discussing" a major championship event for teams that was to sick with 15s in the spring, this move will probably support a split within the game. With teams in the West in men's D1A, and also Men's D1, not joining NCR and instead pursuing their own paths that include 15s in the spring, small-college teams and leagues, especially those in hybrid leagues, are possibly not going to join NCR as a result.

The game is splitting along geographical lines, with the Western teams, plus those in Florida and parts of the South, looking at 15s in the late winter and into the spring, while teams in the East (with some exceptions) are looking to play 15s in the fall and 7s in the spring. This has even spilled out into there being a question as to whether all of the conferences that have announced for NCR will join. It's likely that the vast majority will, but the Rocky Mountain, which might end up being a hybrid league of men's small college and men's D2, hasn't officially joined NCR yet, so we've been told.

Meanwhile, the western D1AA teams (calling themselves D1) are likely to announce their own plans shortly, plans that would keep them full members of USA Rugby and not have them joining NCR.