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Great Lakes Conference Joins NSCRO D2

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Great Lakes Conference Joins NSCRO D2

Kelly Williams photo.

The Great Lakes Rugby Conference has announced that its men's conference will be joining NSCRO in the organization's new Open Division D2, beginning in the fall of 2020. 

Created in 2010, the GLC used to be a combined D2 and D3 conference. The small college teams eventually moved on to be part of NSCRO, while the larger schools remained as part of the Great Lakes D2 conference.

With one program run through its athletic department in Bethel University, the conference is also led by Grand Valley State, and a steadily improving Central Michigan University team. All three ended the fall of 2019 ranked in Goff Rugby Report's top 40.

“I wish USA Rugby well in their continuing effort to restructure and grow the game in this country," said Great Lakes commissioner John Mullett. "At this time, I believe it is in USAR’s best interest to focus on limited platforms, build in those limited and specific rugby areas, and then expand their support and growth of the game through their affiliation with proven successful models. This should not be an ‘us versus them’ situation in terms of governance. It is a matter of an appropriate structure that provides stability and predictability in competitions and playoff formats. I have interacted administratively with both organizations in the past and believe that the path for growth is a college focused governance by NSCRO while USAR tends to its restructuring obligations, the national teams and club competitions. The collegiate competitions are deserving of a governance entity that focuses entirely on the college game in its multiple formats and competition levels. That is what NSCRO was set up to do and has done it very well. With the addition of an Open Division it provides even great opportunities for balanced competitions.” 

The GLC currently has nine men's D2 teams, but they might add more:

Bethel University
Calvin University
Central Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Ferris State University
Grand Valley State University
Hope College
Oakland University
Saginaw Valley State University

“Calvin University, Hope College, and Saginaw Valley have all built competitive, structured programs, but being smaller educational institutions, they tend to have a greater degree of vacillating strength in numbers," said Mullett. "D2 playoff bids are very limited; additional postseason outlets give opportunities to more college teams. Playing in a hybrid schedule may provide these teams from smaller schools an additional opportunity, such as participation in NSCRO’s Challenge Cup. The possibility of post-season games provides incentive to build the team over the course of an entire season. Opportunities and incentives tend to equate with organic growth … and better rugby.”