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NCR Confirms Rugby East Joining

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NCR Confirms Rugby East Joining

Navy and Penn State are two of the teams in Rugby East. Colleen McCloskey photo.

National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) has confirmed what GRR reported last week, that the Rugby East Conference will join its men’s competition in 2021.

Sources: Rugby East To Join NCR

The hugely competitive conference will look to play 15s in the spring this coming season and 15s in the fall after that—when the 15s season is held being one of the main issues for Rugby East members.

The Rugby East teams are: U.S. Military Academy, Kutztown University, U.S. Naval Academy, Notre Dame College, Penn State University, and St. Bonaventure University.

“We are impressed with NCR’s vision and membership focused approach," said Tui Osborne, Head Coach of St. Bonaventure and Assistant Commissioner of Rugby East. "NCR provides a platform for the Rugby East Conference to remain unified and continue a meaningful conference competition in a manner that supports all our member teams."

“We are pleased to add Rugby East and further strengthen NCR’s premier level competition," added NCR CEO Jeremy Treece. "Rugby East has a legacy of producing high quality student-athletes both on and off the pitch, and brings a strong culture of sportsmanship that we seek in all NCR members.”

Rugby East joins the Liberty Conference, Chesapeake, and the Mid-Atlantic as men's D1 (either D1A or D1AA) conferences working within the NCR framework. All are big supporters of a fall championship.

“We’re happy that our members can conclude the Fall with a proper Championship experience. Furthermore, we’re pleased that NCR supports any of our teams who may choose to additionally pursue a 15s pathway in the Spring along with other parts of the country.” added Osborne.

That's an interesting question—whether it will work for Rugby East teams to be in NCR and then also try to compete in CRAA's D1A postseason. Certainly, based on GRR's reporting on USA Rugby's stance on this, crossover games and participating in playoffs might be OK'd by USA Rugby for a fee, but whether USA Rugby-member teams will want to play these crossover games basically hasn't been address.

The same goes for where the refs sit on this issue. With the pandemic shutdown curtailing most college rugby this fall, the point seems moot, but still needs to be addressed.