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Iowa Central: What's The Big Deal?

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Iowa Central: What's The Big Deal?

Here's how this works: if you are playing for a national championship, and someone is better than you, then that other team will likely beat you.

That's the way of the sporting world. We have rules about eligibility and what type of competition you're in, sure, but this sport has far, far too many examples of "we lost but ..." excuse-mongering.

So that brings me to Iowa Central Community College. There's been some rumblings that Iowa CCC should not be in D2 college rugby, and I am about to refute the arguments that support such a position. Let's go point-by-point shall we?

The argument goes as follows: Iowa Central CC is too good.The team is varsity, with paid coaches and a strong recruiting budget, and they beat a D1A team, Wisconsin, by a massive amount this past weekend. They are able to recruit lots of players from overseas, and it's unfair for them to compete in D2.

Let's take this apart, shall we?

1. Iowa Central CC is too good. 

Too bad. Sack up and play the good teams. Was Wisconsin-Whitewater too good when the Warhawks rolled to multiple national championships? No, of course not. Was Minnesota-Duluth too good when it did the same? No.

Iowa Central is a pretty good team, but, it's worth remembering that the program hasn't won a national championship, so somebody else in D2 beat them.

2. Iowa Central CC has an unfair advantage because it's a varsity program.

No it doesn't. Not really. There are other varsity programs in D2, with Norwich, Bethel, Queens all competing without anyone getting too bent out of shape. Yes it's true that Davenport and Lindenwood played in D2 and then moved up. That was their choice.

The teams that remain do so because they are D2 schools. Iowa Central CC, with a total student body of around 6,000, is not especially large. It's a two-year school, so it's worth noting the team basically has to rebuild every single year.

Those other three varsity teams we mention above are smaller, for sure, and that's why they might always remains in D2. But no one is screaming about Old Dominion, UNC-Charlotte, UMass-Lowell, Marquette, Southern Illinois, or William Paterson ... all schools with two to four times as many students as Iowa Central CC.

3. Iowa Central CC beat the University of Wisconsin.

So? That was one game. Wisconsin hadn't even started classes yet and showed up with 18 players and a brand-new coach. One game does not a dynasty make.

4. Iowa Central CC recruits lots of players from overseas.

Well, this year they added three—big deal. Last year's roster of 28 has 11 foreign players on it. That's pretty heavy overseas, but a) not against the rules, b) not that much different from a lot of college teams, and c) they also had 11 players from Iowa, and can you forgive the program for getting noticed more by kids in New Zealand than in the rest of the USA?

In addition, it has become somewhat of a fad to assign superhuman status to any rugby player who comes from another country. And yet the best college players are not all from overseas, and the championship teams are not all foreign players. If your team is quaking at the thought of playing some South Africans you have i) missed the point of rugby being a world game, and ii) maybe should reevaluate how you motivate your players.


There should be set criteria on what college rugby teams should be considered DIA, DIAA, and DII That's why many grumbled when Stanford won the D2 title some years ago. That's why these pages weren't too happy about NC State (enrollment 34,000) being in D2 and why we're happy the Wolfpack moved back to DIAA. But Iowa Central doesn't break any reasonable rules. It's not a big school. It's varsity, but has to turn over its roster every two years. It's in a relatively isolated place, in a small market, and, while varsity, there's no indication it has a massive budget.

Now, the Tritons schedule is an independent one, and is packed full of DIAA and DIA opposition. So if someone wanted to force them to play in the DIAA postseason, Iowa CCC wouldn't have to change much to do so.

But they shouldn't have to. There's nothing in what Iowa Central CC has done on or off the field that warrants them being forced to do anything. They want to be D2? Let them.